book repair

A clean sweep of a herbal

Today I’m working on a treatment that is basically the rare book equivalent of cleaning under the couch cushions. This 2-volume herbal was used by a previous owner as a plant press, and many leaves, flowers and other assorted plant parts were discovered in-between its pages by our special collections librarian. The plants had already caused damage, such as acid-burn and staining, and also made it difficult for readers to handle or read this book. So we made the decision…

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How not to tip-in a page!

Back in 1977, one of our library staff literally stapled some replacement pages into this book. It got the job done, but the results are not that ideal, as it makes it hard to read those pages and could tear the original pages they are stapled to. But this was way before my library had a Preservation department, so I can’t hold it against them! Nowadays in Preservation, we “tip in” replacement pages using a little bit of glue along…

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Please don’t DIY when it comes to book repair!

And this is also why the staff at the library will often stress that patrons should not attempt their own repairs of library books. The “repair” often does more damage than helps, and won’t actually save you from being fined for a repair or replacement fee. This was so heavily damaged that we ended up withdrawing it, and probably just bought a new copy. But now it has a second life in my office as a great example of “what not to…

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