Wednesday, December 09, 2009

School Days - Book Repairs

Working in an elementary school library is a constant challenging and growing experience indeed! Most recently, I finally tried my hand at repairing the forever growing pile of books that desperately needed to be repaired. A quick fix of some tape isn't so bad. But trying to rescue a book that is barely hanging from its spine is another story. You may wonder why I didn't just toss the book then in the discards pile. Well, if it's a very sought after and/or expensive book that students keep clamoring after, then you may find it in your heart to take the extra time to try to put the book back together. That was the case for this one origami book.

I have to say I was truly doubtful that glue and tape would really do the job but I tried to remember what Jitka Hora had taught us in her short session about book repairs in Library 104. I have to say I was fearful of tackling these projects on my own without a guide showing me what to do.

With limited supplies of white glue, tape, and a paintbrush, I accessed each book and decided which was the best route to take. Some books just needed some tape. Others needed massive amounts of glue and tape to even warrant a hope of holding together. Then I secured the books as tightly as I could with multiple rubber bands. I used the heaviest books I could find in my collection (2 Art History books that no one ever looks at) and sat them on top of a pile of paperbacks and other small books. For the larger books, I just piled them on top of one another and hoped for the best. I let all the books sit for almost a week.

Today, I decided the books had enough time to let the glue do its job. I was really curious if glue could indeed put that origami book back into circulation. I have to say I'm truly amazed to see this book held together so well. Mission accomplished! My students will surely be psyched to see this book has made its return. Question is: how long will this book withstand its recent repairs? I'm hoping for awhile at least. But if it does come to that again, I am now confident I can do my best to put that book back together just like they put Humpty Dumpty back together when he fell down.


Kimberly said...

Hi Evelyn,
I've been reading this blog every now and then and I'm a library page at a county library. I've been working on the damaged books for sometime now and I've found glue actually works wonders. We just us Elmer's glue, which dries clear and holds strong. I usually stack the repaired books under a heavy weight (the large glue bottle or large tape dispenser) for 3 days and it works well. One tip that might help you, along with rubber bands I've found with the thinner hardcover books to use the binder clips (the larger black paper clips) to clip on the spine. This keeps pressure on the spine without damaging the spine (if you place it just right). I hope this helps and that the books hold together.

Evelyn said...

Hi Kim,

Thanks so much for reading and your imput! I will definitely have to try your advice in using the larger black paper clips for smaller books.

Evelyn Keolian

Anonymous said...

I have been reenforcing and repairing damaged books at the high school I work at for some time now. I use rubbing alcohol on a soft cloth to wipe the outside clean. I use demco repair products and have found the glue to be a life saver. I too use the binder clips for spine repair. Demco also had a small book repair pamphletthat I refer to occassionaly. Youtube is another good resource. Natalie