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Re: [BKARTS] secret book repair



Like many others I have followed this thread with considerable interest,
not least because I do repair for a large academic library.  I would
certainly weigh in with the opinion that stealth repair to someone else's
book, be the owner a person or an institution is unethical.  I would
concede small repairs, such as a tear (no scotch tape), especially if I was
the one who tore the page.  It may be true that the attention is
beneficial, but that is not the point.

Most libraries are flat out grateful for the assistance of their patrons,
so I can't imagine the offer of free assistance from a competent repair
person would go begging, especially at a public library.  More to the
point, you have much, much more to offer than you know.  A small public
branch library for instance, may have no one on staff able to judge repair
needs, much less do them.  Some help from you in evaluating the collection,
what can be easily repaired, what must be replaced, are areas in which your
input could be deeply appreciated by the staff.

Several people have already written in speaking of their work assisting
libraries and other institutions in this manner.  If you work in secret,
there is no chance for the staff to use your skills in concert with theirs
to maximize the available benefit for the books.   Especially now as modern
mass machine bindings take over, many small town libraries are in
possession of fine nineteenth century publishers' bindings which are
becoming valuable.  With no one to assist them in assessing their
collection, such books can often be discarded and replaced with new ones
simply because no one pointed out to them that the original was repairable,
potentially valuable, and perhaps even more durable than a modern
replacement once repaired.

Dorothy Africa

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