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Subject: Dust jackets

Dust jackets

From: Pete Jermann <pjermann>
Date: Wednesday, September 20, 1995
Gregor Trinkaus-Randall <gtrinkaus [at] mecn__mass__edu> writes

> Besides the fact that often book jackets contain information about
> the author and the book that is not present elsewhere, they serve a
> preservation function. ...

In an effort not to split hairs but to clarify it is important to
note the distinction between the book jacket and the protective
cover that most libraries use to protect it.  The preservation
advantages of retaining the book jacket on the book come not from
the book jacket itself but the book jacket cover that libraries use
to protect the book jacket.  The ordinary book jacket will hardly
survive a single reading if left unprotected. With this in mind, it
should be noted that saving the book jacket on the book is not a
matter of merely saving the jacket rather than discarding it but is
an act of positive intervention that requires purchased materials
and staff time.  In a world of limited resources the expense
involved must be weighed against other priorities and treatments.

That said, it is my observation from visiting the preservation
department of a major public library and discussions with its
preservation officer that the protective covers do help.  In
addition to protection from light, dust and abrasion, the protective
covers protect the spine by by serving in place of the head cap as a
device for removing the book from the shelf.  Whereas much of my
repair work in the academic library where I work involves detached
or torn spines and head caps, in the public library I visited there
was very little of this kind of work.  However, there is a cost
involved.  In relieving the book's headcap from the strain of shelf
removal, the protective dust jacket moves the strain to the fore
edge of the boards.  This action in turn lends itself to loosened
hinges. Whereas I deal with damaged spines, my colleague at the
public library seemed to be primarily dealing with loosened hinges.
However, I think the compromise required in adopting book jackets
remains positive as hinge tightening is both the lesser repair to
perform and does not intrude on the books original integrity as
spine repair almost always does.

Pete Jermann
Preservation Officer
Friedsam Memorial Library
St. Bonaventure University
St. Bonaventure, NY 14778
716-375-2324

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                  Conservation DistList Instance 9:28
                Distributed: Sunday, September 24, 1995
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Received on Wednesday, 20 September, 1995

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