The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 6
Dec 1984


News

Conservation Input to LBI Standards

The Library Binding Institute (LBI), trade association of commercial binders serving libraries, has established a Standards Task Force to revise the LBI Standards only three years after the appearance of the latest revision. The Task Force is composed of Dudley Weiss (LBI counsel), Paul Parisi (a library binder) and Jan Merrill-Oldham (a preservation librarian). It has met several times this year to work on what will probably be called the new "Library Binding Specifications." Werner Rebsamen is not listed as being on the committee, but has been active in formulating the specifications.

According to the October 1984 New Library Scene, the new specifications will describe five alternate binding methods: oversewing, side sewing, centerfold sewing, new case only, and double fan adhesive binding, as well as guidelines for "specialty items" such as boxes and lamination. The binder may choose among these alternatives in the absence of instructions from the librarian.

Werner Rebsamen says in the LBI's newsletter for October that "Each method is carefully described, explaining what is necessary and mandatory in order to meet these LBI Specifications. Since there are several methods of binding, it became essential not only to list the required specifications for a particular method of affixing leaves, but also to include a description for preparation and the appropriate endpaper construction for each separate item."

French Art Deco Bindings Fetch High Prices

According to a New York Times article from June 22, reprinted in the October Binders' Guild Newsletter, a world auction record of $84,385 for a modern illustrated book and for an art deco binding was set. The buyer said he bought it both for the illustrations and for the binding. In the last five years, he said, "there has been a fascination about these Art Deco books. I think the French binders are the greatest in the world not only technically but artistically and creatively." He is a rare book dealer named John F. Fleming. He has examples of the work of Paul Bonet's work, which average from $3000 to $20,000 in price; the maximum is $75,000.

Average Times for Preservation Procedures

An examination of the PLMS survey results reported in the October issue of this Newsletter (p. 71) reveals a fairly typical large spread between the short production times of the fastest library shops and the slowest, similar to that observed between fast and slow binderies (AN Jan. 1980). Therefore, with apologies to PLMS, the following production rates are made public. Where two average times are listed, the second figure is for shops judged to be more experienced.

Encapsulation, with tape 11 min.
Same, with welder 5 min.
Phase box 26 min.
Rare book box 3 hrs. (2:40)
Paper mending with long fiber paper 7 min.
deacidification, aqueous 45 min. (50)
Deacidification, nonaqueous 23 mm. (12)

Big Preservation Grants in New York State

In a notable piece of legislation, the State of New York has made annual grants of $90,000 available for preservation of materials to each of 11 comprehensive research libraries in the State. These libraries are Columbia, Cornell, Syracuse and New York Universities, the University of Rochester, the State University of New York at Binghamton, Buffalo, Albany, and Stony Brook, the New York Public Library Research Libraries, and the New York State Library. To establish eligibility, each library must submit a five-year plan for preservation and an annual budget. Additional annual grants up to a total of $1,010,000 are available to any or all of the 11 comprehensive research libraries for project proposals in preservation, and an additional $1 million per year is available to libraries and other agencies (e.g. archives, historical societies) for the preservation of unique research materials. These new legislative commitments for preservation of research library materials total $3 million per year. [From ARL Newsletter No. 121, Aug. 147

Ohio Group Plans Deacidification Facility

The Ohio Conservation Committee, an independent coalition of librarians and other concerned citizens, met in October and adopted as one of its goals the construction of a large-scale, low-unit-cost mass deacidification facility in Ohio. For more information contact Gary A. Hunt at the Ohio University Library, Athens, OH 45701 (614/594-5755).

Ten Preservation Self-Studies Funded

Ten Association of Research Libraries members will conduct the newly developed ARL Preservation Planning Program self-study in their institutions as a result of a $65,375 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to ARL. Grant support continues until June 1986. Three or four libraries will begin the project every six months during that period. The ten libraries selected are: the Center for Research Libraries, Colorado State University, Iowa State University, University of Missouri-Columbia, Northwestern University, Ohio Stare University, University of Oregon, Smithsonian Institution, State University of New York at Stony Brook and the University of Tennessee.

The ARL Preservation self-study program typically takes six to nine months to complete. During the project, library staff members assess the degree of deterioration of collections, evaluate the effectiveness of their library's current preservation activities, and devise ways to expand and improve those activities. Staff members then prepare a detailed three-to-five-year plan for local preservation development.

Results- of all the projects will be accessible to the general library community. Manuals and resource notebooks used in the preservation self-study program are available for $30 prepaid from the ARL Office of Management Studies, 1527 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036 (202/232-8656). [From American Libraries, October, p. 664]

Vacuum Packaging in Australia

The following article appeared in the Library Journal for Sept. 15 on p. 1711:

Vacuum packaging of library materials, using machines and plastic materials developed for the food industry, offers a new weapon for the librarian's arsenal in the war against deterioration. The National Library of Australia reports on a year's experimentation with the process, which is seen as offering both temporary and permanent solutions to problems of deterioration and adverse storage conditions.

The National Library has been exploring optimum vacuum, moisture control, and the adequacy of different plastic films.

It has found that a 60% vacuum is preferable; higher vacuums could make the film too easily punctured. Moisture control appears best handled by a new plastic from Israel that excludes moisture and also punctures less easily.

Dr. Jan Lyall is the Chief Conservator of the Library's General Conservation Service; his office has already been receiving queries on the process from libraries, including Columbia University Libraries. His office in Canberra can be reached at (662) 621361.

Oxbow Book and Paper Intensive Session set for July

The Oxbow Summer Conference Center in Saugatuck, Michigan will again offer an intensive three-week session of personal instruction and evaluation in the practice of hand papermaking, the book arts and book conservation. The program is designed for accomplished artists and conservators involved with book format work, faculty will include Chris Clarkson, Kathryn Clark, Howard Clark, Walter Hamady, Sue Gosin, Hedi Kyle, Gary Frost, Jan Merrill-Oldham and Tim Barrett. Faculty, staff and participants will live and work together to define and solve problems and to develop new directions for their fields.

Book Conservation is scheduled for the week of July 15-20 at the end of the three-week period. This session will emphasize current developing practice for printed book treatment with an interest in both single item and whole collection techniques. There will be close personal instruction, evaluation sod exchange with experienced practitioners, including studies in early book structure sod medieval book craft skills. Each participant will offer a brief field report on their current work. There will be lectures on the preservation effort in research libraries sod discussion of technical, economic and administrative changes underway.

Tuition, covering the Paper and Book Intensive Program most supplies, and all room and board, is reasonable: $466 for one week, $766 for two weeks and $966 for three weeks. Five half tuition scholarships are offered to needy students. The participant limit in camp is 35. In the event of excess applications a faculty selection will be made on the basis of career involvement and ability to contribute to the program.

Applications are available on request from Oxbow office: PO Box 5866, Chicago, IL 66666 (312/671-2348). Further information is available from Paper & Book Intensive directors: Gary Frost (daytime, 212/2s6-526J or 5637), and Hedi Kale (daytime, 212/226-8754).

New Jersey Preservation Interests Coalesce

A voluntary group called the Conservation Study Advisory Committee held its first meeting November 1 somewhere in New Jersey (place was not recorded in the minutes.

Twenty-five members, including Joyce Russell, Gary Saretsky, Robert Parliament, Susan Swartzburg, Howard Lowell and Ann Russell, attended. Perhaps Howard Lowell and Ann Russell are there only in an advisory capacity, because they are listed separately, along with Barbara Weaver, the New Jersey State Librarian. The minutes say:

Within the state there is a wide variety of activity and a large number of individuals with significant expertise. Strong regional resources are available and there is growing interest, awareness and funding at the state and national levels. A statewide plan for the conservation and preservation of library materials is needed to coordinate these elements and to provide a strategy and action plan to meet existing sod future needs.

The next meeting will be in February 1985, to review a draft plan, which will be drawn up by Howard Lowell.

Update on Newest Deacidification Process

The Forest Products Group of Koppers Company of Pittsburgh is currently investigating the feasibility of marketing its deacidification system, which it is reluctant to describe until patented, except to say that it is easy, safe and effective. Recently, according to Ann Swartzell's column in the RTSD Newsletter (v.9 /t6),

agreements have been reached between Koppers and the University of California at Berkeley for extensive testing of this new process by forest products scientists at Berkeley (with input from the library). Preliminary results are expected in the summer of 1985. Barclay Ogden, conservation officer at Berkeley, also recently announced that Berkeley will undertake independent testing of Wei T'o and the Library of Congress's DEZ process to allow full comparison of all three techniques. Results from this work are expected approximately one year from now.

Bookbinding News From England

The September DB Newsletter is full of news:

David Sellers and Vanessa Marshall travelled all over last spring, looking for good binding work done by the students at Guildford, Brighton and the London College of Printing (Camberwell no longer teaches binding) and were disappointed. "There wasn't a single work in any of the binding shows that had any spark of life. . . . There is something very wrong with the way these students are being taught. It was obvious what the central problem was: all the colleges were trying to turn out the all-round binder/ restorer/conservator, which is just ridiculous, No one-or two-year course could achieve this and the result is that there isn't any One thing the students do well."

The Conservation of Bookbinding Leather is summarized in 2½ pages, and the names of leather dealers who can supply aluminum retanned leather (the only kind of vegetable tanned leather the report could recommend) are given (see Supplies section of this issue).

Charlene Carry has closed the Basilisk Bookshop and is now dealing from home in private press books and her own publications. Address: 16 Adamson Road, Hampstead, London NW3.

The Bernard Middleton Masterclasses next January have been cancelled due to unavailability of space, and may be rescheduled for Easter vacation. Contact Lisa von Clem, 58 Bedford Gardens, London W8.

After an interval of ten years, the Prix Paul Bonet will be given for the third time in November 1985 in Ascona to celebrate the 26th anniversary of the Centre del Bel Libro. An exposition of prize-winning books is planned.

Miura Touring U.S.

The Winter issue of The Deckled Edge, newsletter of the Baltimore Conservation Group, was mailed November 14, so presumably the following news story is still current. It is reprinted with permission of the editor.

"Kerstin Tini Miura, a fine binder living in Japan, is presently making a tour of the United States and Canada, giving workshops and promoting the English version of her book, originally published in Japanese, My World of Bibliophile Binding. Miura, with the help of her husband Einen, gave a hands-on workshop to the staff of the Johns Hopkins University Bindery October 19 and 20. In addition to a slide presentation of Miura's bindings, the workshop included techniques for mitering leather corners, lining a book's back and constructing an inlay that acts as a hollow and a support for the headcaps. Miura also demonstrated applying a quarter leather spine to a book and taught a technique for edge decoration using graphite. The workshop culminated with each participant trying Miura's only (yes, only) technique for decorated bindings. The workshop was valuable to all the participants for the specific ways the demonstrations are applicable to work in the bindery; perhaps of greater importance, Ms. Miura and her work were a real inspiration.

"Tini Miura's book is available from the University of California Press at the price of $100.66. Her bookbinding methods are described with detailed drawings by her husband and the book is lavishly illustrated with color plates of her bindings."

A phone call from Mel Kevin brought this late news on the book: The $100 price is good until March 31, when it goes up to $125. People who order the book from her through Mel Kevin will get her autograph on a piece of paper marbled by her, and can stick it in the book. Write to Tini Miura, c/o Mel Kavin, Kater-Crafts Bookbinders, 4860 Gregg Road, Pico Rivera, CA 90660 (213/692-0665).

Her 1982 tour is reported, with background information, in the February 1982 Abbey Newsletter.

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