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Re: Teaching Workshops


A half-day session is pretty short to accomplish teaching basic book
repair, but it can be done with thorough planning. I taught a full-day
session two years ago and learned a few things that might help you to have
a successful experience. I limited the subject matter to the archival
repair of torn wrinkled, dog-eared pages, broken hinges, stains, etc., how
to avoid damage in the first place, and a couple enclosures that would
protect a book from further damage. I had a full day and still felt rushed.

One of the problems is that the students will be at all levels of
expertise; some may have bound books themselves; others may never have used
a bone folder, exacto or mat knife, or don't know the properties of paper
or adhesives. To many, the extent of their knowledge of book repair is
slapping on some scotch tape, Elmer's glue or rubber cement. Some may even
expect to be able to rebind a book after taking a 1/2-deay class.
Therefore, some time will have to be spent on materials and techniques. It
helps to have packets holding the materials to be used ready beforehand.

It's not a good idea to have students bring their own books to repair in
class because, invariably, some will bring books that need work that will
not be covered in a class on simple repairs.

Let me tell you the most successful part of my workshop: I went to a local
thrift shop, explained why I wanted a dozen books, all the same size and
condition, and the proprietor let me have them for nothing. Then I went
through the books making the same tears, wrinkles, dog-ears (one torn off),
stains, pierced holes, etc. on the same pages in each book, keeping a
record for myself. I also broke the front hinge in each book and tore out
one page and stuck it back in. In class, I passed out the books and asked
the students to look through their copies and mark any pages where they
found damage, without telling them page numbers. Then we went through the
books, discussing the damage and making the repairs, using methods
course, I had passed out wheat paste and the materials they would need

The students kept the repaired books as a reminder of the techniques they
had learned.

I do hope this helps and you have a rewarding experience with your workshop
this summer. Let me know how it turns out.


At 11:35 AM 5/3/99 -0700, you wrote:
>I'm in the final stages of planning a basic book repair workshop this
>summer.  It is to be a half-day session.  I'd like some input as to
>content.  I have, of course, ideas as to what can be realistically covered
>in such a short format but would like ideas as to what not to miss.  I have
>glossary, equipment/supplies list, and short descriptive sheets for each
>The emphasis will be on quick, easy, inexpensive repairs.  Not meant for
>rare or special collections items.
>Thanks for you input,
>At 10:40 AM 05/03/1999 -0700, you wrote:
>>I'm a beginning bookbinder.  When taking workshops, here are some things
>>I've liked:
>>1.  Pre-cut boards
>>2. Telling me if I'm learning a technique or if I can expect to finish a
>>3. A really complete materials list, including both supplies and materials.
>>4. Tell me if I'm just working on the cover, or if I'll be working on both
>>the cover and pages--that is, do I need to bring ideas and materials to
>>illustrate / decorate the pages?
>>5. Let me know if I need to bring a lunch and build a short break into the
>>time allowed for the workshop.
>                                    Claudia Stall
>                          Head, Collection Preservation Unit
>                               San Diego State University
>                             Library and Information Services
>             "Be kind, do good work, and touch the earth gently."
Betty Storz   storz@mcn.org

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