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Re: [BKARTS] Secret book repair


I would suggest that if you are seeing these things happening, then you
either have bad librarians or you have librarians with insufficient
resources.  If it is the first case then you should work to get better
librarians by appealing to whatever authorities they answer to.  But this
will probably cost your community, as experienced, caring librarians might
cost more on the average.  You might have to mount a really good argument
for the city to spend more on hiring better librarians.  But it sounds like
you have heaps of evidence.

If you have good librarians who lack resources, then you should help them
get better resources.  Donations, fundraisers, and supporting local
initiatives are good ways to go.  Again, you'll have to help do the legwork
to show the town why it is needed.

Finally, if you really want to have hands-on involvement in these repairs,
I'd really encourage asking.  And if you want to get a lot of them done,
then maybe you can organize classes on the subject with support from the
librarians.  There are probably no-hope books that are destined to be pulped
that they'd be willing to allow you to teach with.  Then you'd have a whole
team of people fixing the books with complete cooperation from the

All of these provide a lasting legacy that goes far beyond fixing a book
here and there when you have the time and interest.  Better librarians will
improved service all around.  More resources will mean more time for
repairs, but probably better programming and collection development as well.
Classes in book repair create community awareness and potential binders and
teachers for the future.

I've never met a librarian who liked putting a battered and dying book back
on the shelf.  They need help at the institutional level, not book by book.
At least if you ask and make your presence known, they can call you when
they need help and you can establish yourself as a resource they can rely on
and learn from.

And if the service in your library is poor, then I'd suggest that this is
the problem you should be trying to solve.  Not the weak spine on _Where the
Sidewalk Ends_.

Ken Price

-----Original Message-----
From: Book_Arts-L [mailto:BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx] On Behalf Of JP
Sent: Tuesday, March 15, 2005 7:00 PM
To: BOOK_ARTS-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
Subject: Re: Secret book repair

> Librarians do not own the books, it is true (the libraries do).  However,
> they are the duly appointed caretakers of the books >and have been chosen
> for their knowledge, experience, and training.  They are responsible for
> developing and maintaining >the collection under their care.  They are
> also responsible for ensuring that patrons who use the library treat the
> materials in >ways that are acceptable as determined by the policies of
> the library.

If this is so, then please tell me why that book or any book ends up back in
the stacks in that condition or that needs repair?  If (as stated above)
librarians are "responsible for developing and maintaining the collection
under their care"  and  were so concerned about their(our?) "property", they
wouldn't allow a damaged book back on the shelf.  I wouldn't with my own

And those folks that will fix with scotch tape will continue to do so
regardless of what we say here, laws of ownership or not.  IF a hinge is
loose, would it violate some moral code to take 5 minutes to fix it?  Or
dump it in the drop box and have it back on the shelf 2 days later to be
wrecked more? Which is more responsible?

Also, we have a Friends of the Library here.   They sell books from the
stacks as a non profit and the library then uses the money to buy more
books.  I have seen brand new books on relevant current topics for sale
there, and a WHOLE section on American Indian history ( in a county where
there were LOTS of Indians around (central valley, CALIF).  These were some
REALLY old books that had definite historical research value.  ANd they went
to FoL to be sold at 5 cents on the dollar..... And they are no longer
available to be used for research.  I can think of a lot of other books that
could be eliminated if they need room in the stacks for more books.  They
could start with the romance novels......

As an aside, when my boys were toddlers, my wife went to the library every
week and checked out the maximum number of books (I think it was around 40)
for us to read to them and as they got older, for them to read.  Obviously
these were children's books, (I'm not sure what the life expectancy of a
children's book in the library is...) and they were FILTHY.  The first thing
my wife would do is CLEAN the covers (she's a nurse....).  She, over the
years, probably cleaned most of the books in the children's section of the
library.  Was that wrong?  Did she change the the value of the book because
she cleaned the cover from sticky to at least being reasonably clean?  Was
that defacing?  No sarcasm here, as those who are purist  would contend that
she should have gotten permission first or leave it to the Librarian, as the
duly appointed caretaker, to clean those books by accepted practices and
procedures that are acceptable as determined by the policies of the

Interesting discussion...............

     The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist

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     The Bonefolder: an e-journal for the bookbinder and book artist
             For all your subscription questions, go to the
                      Book_Arts-L FAQ and Archive.
                  Both at: <http://www.philobiblon.com>

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