The Preservation Lab is lucky to have a lot of equipment. One of our more interesting pieces is a shrink-wrap machine. We bring the machine out about once a year when we have a fair amount of bound materials that meet the following criteria:
- part of the general circulating collection;
- an item with a history of little or low use;
- brittle paper, making rebinding or repair impossible or too time consuming;
- replacements are not available or prohibitively expensive considering use.
Before the retirement of Pat Schmude, a UCL conservation technician in the lab for 28 years, we brought the machine up so that he could remind us of all the special things we need to do to make it work optimally — all the things you just don’t find in a manual but you know from 20+ years experience.
And of course we did have a little fun…here is my coffee mug shrink-wrapped. I’m trying to give it up…so far I haven’t broken the seal!
Clockwise – The finished product; Pat Schmude and Ashleigh Schieszer; Ashleigh, Jessica Ebert, and Pat; the coffee cup in question; Ashleigh and Jessica; and Chris Voynovich.
Holly Prochaska (UCL) — Preservation Librarian
Every once in a while a library receives a new book that needs a little something special. Sometimes it’s a pocket to hold an enclosed map or other added material, sometimes it’s a special box or enclosure, or sometimes it’s an extra page that needs to be tipped in. Recently the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County received 20 copies of the book, “S” by J.J. Abrams and Doug Dorst. It’s unusual and highly visual, filled with things like postcards and news clippings, 22 in all, stuck in at different points as if someone had been reading it and had absent-mindedly left their impromptu bookmark between the pages. None of these ephemeral-seeming pieces are attached in any way. It’s a really neat interactive book, in fact I want a copy of my own, but having a book with numerous loose parts is definitely challenging as part of a library collection. The potential for the various pieces, all part of the book’s storyline, to be lost or misplaced is huge! In fact there was an outcry across the country as the book arrived and librarians saw the potential for chaos and disaster:
Many times as I am performing tasks at the bench I begin to concentrate deeply on the materials, the tools, the work itself or a number of related subjects. Sometimes my imagination kicks in and I go to a completely weird place inside my head… One time I was removing the adhesive beneath a failed scotch tape repair and I began to roll the adhesive, testing its elasticity between my fingers before discarding it into a pile. I thought to myself, “this stuff has potential” and “it seems to have a life of its own”. Well, as I carefully stacked the discarded adhesive balls, they began to take shape… That was the beginning of Adhesive Man. I am strangely confident he will make future appearances around the Lab.
Chris Voynovich (PLCH) —- Conservation Technician
One of the best parts of the formation of our joint lab was the addition of a full time conservator. The University of Cincinnati lab had been performing a variety of conservation repairs or mends on general collection items for years. Tip-ins, tears, tape removal, sewing and spine repairs were all familiar types of mending to those of us who had been working in the existing UC lab. But when our joint lab began and our new conservator, Kathy Lechuga, started we quickly began to see that not all our repairs or mends were up to par. Kathy had a vast knowledge of conservation, including best practices that were more up-to-date. Even straight forward repairs like spine repairs (or re-backs) that haven’t changed much in the last 30 years needed some minor tweaking. But one repair stuck out as needing a major update, a paper hinge repair we had been doing for years and years.