Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Why you should attend a book repairing session

Today's guest blogger is Melinda Williams with Multnomah County Library. Melinda has been both a Library Page and Clerk during her tenure at MCL. We are pleased to have her writing about Basic Book Repair for Libraries.

I left the conference full of energy and excitement about how I can apply the information I learned to my library life. On of the key things I wanted to review were my experiences in the book mending workshop. My main goals for the conference were to gain a more in depth understanding of book mending, learn more about how other libraries function, and network with support staff outside MCL.

The book mending workshop was educational and entertaining. My expectations were that we would specifically focus on the how-to and not the why of book mending but I was pleasantly surprised. I appreciate that the instructors, Carolee Harrison and Kristen Kern from PSU, spent time explaining book preservation theory and gave us preservation resources. A few key repairs that I think will be useful on a daily basis at the branch are reattaching loose pages and repairing a loose book cover or back. The workshop focused mostly on repairing hardback books and the materials needed in a repair kit. I was curious about repairing paperbacks but the instructors mentioned in passing that paperbacks are generally created from low quality materials and therefore repair is not cost effective. I would recommend the book repair workshop to anyone who is interested in the preservation of books in a broader sense.

I was also excited about the opportunity to network with other support staff about their experiences in their library systems. I was able to do this by volunteering to staff the registration/raffle table during lunch as well as chatting to people in my book mending workshop during breaks. I am grateful that I had the opportunity to learn about how people came to be clerks, pages and library assistants and their duties on any given day.

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