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Children's books


In #321, Claudia Stall wrote:

>I work in a large academic library at a state sponsored university, student
>population runs 20th to 30thousand.  This library has a modest collection
>of children's books as part of the education curriculum.  It is also used
>extensively by the children of student, staff, and faculty.  I am called
>upon to repair these books when the need arises.  Some repairs are fairly
>minor but as the collection ages and we replace fewer items each year, more
>repair is needed.
>Do you know of sources (books, articles, etc.) that deal with repairs to
>the unique format of the small child's book?  These are usually picture
>books.  Seems they are loved to death by so many readings and rough
>handling by small children.
>A lot are only one signature or at most 2-3.  The spine is a thick piece of
>narrow cardboard.  I also noticed that the pastedown/fly leaves are usually
>very important to the book and its overall look and/or story.  I hate to
>loose this part by covering up very much but we don't have a lot of time to
>soak off the end papers.
>I am hoping that there exists a manual of repairs for these books.  I just
>can't seem to find one.  Thanks so much for any tips, citations, and
>ideas.  You may contact me directly at my email address below.

I work for the Preservation Dept. of the General Libraries at the
University of Texas at Austin.  We, too, have a collection of children's
books used by both students & children; unfortunately, however, we find
that most of the damage is done by uncaring students & library staff, and
not by loving children.  I know of no works dealing specifically with
children's books, but I can give you some pointers.

First of all, discard the thick spine piece, if you can.  It's the main
culprit in the wear & tear department of children's books.  It's much too
heavy for the paper that surrounds it.  I usually reback the children's
books with a thin piece of cloth, with either a piece of 20 pt. text or no
spine piece at all, leaving it rounded.

We want to save the decorative pastedowns without spending a lot of time as
well.  Much to the annoyance of my supervisor, I actually cut the text
block out, if I need to, making the cut just about even where the crash
ends between the board & the pastedown.  Then I do whatever necessary
repairs are needed to the cover & text-block, then carefully paste it all
back together, with just an unslightly line (or scar) left.  Sure, it's not
real pretty, but it is easy & quick, & there is no real loss of

Also, as a tip, if I do have to detatch the text-block from the cover, I go
ahead and do any necessary rebacking from the inside of the spine, trying
to save as much of the original spine as possible.  It's much easier &
faster this way, & oftentimes looks better.  Also, I will try to resew the
book if it's sidesewn, because the machine sewing has a tendency to come
loose at some point in time.

If you have any questions about all this, please feel free to e-mail me.
It's rather difficult to describe some of these methods without

Good luck!

Alan P. Van Dyke
Technical Staff Asst. II
Preservation Dept.
General Libraries
The University of Texas at Austin

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