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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
Alan P. Van Dyke
Technical Staff Asst. II
The University of Texas at Austin