For some of us here at the Lab it’s not enough to work with books all day, we even work with them in our spare time!
The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County collaborates with the Cincinnati Book Arts Society every year to put on Bookworks, an exhibit celebrating the work of book artists. We’re thrilled that four staff members (we’ll always think of Pat as staff, no matter how long he’s retired!) have pieces in Bookworks XVI .
Pat Schmude’s leather-bound “Zombies,” made with techniques learned from bookbinder and conservator Jeff Peachey during a 2013 workshop at the Lab on Eigteenth-Century French Bookbinding.“The Red Door” is a piece Pat worked on over many years, adding a detail here and there when the inspiration came to him. All of us at the Lab fell in love with it. Don’t you just want to walk through that door and see what new world it takes you to?
Jessica Ebert’s “Curiosities Behind Glass” shows off the carousel form we learned during our December “fun day” to great effect.
Ashleigh’s “Study of Impermanence of Early Contact Printing Photography” is research and binding skill rolled into one!She also saved neat old spine linings she had to remove during treatments over her years as a student worker and turned them into a nifty and whimsical documentary for “Spines.”
My own wee accordion book, “Wholehearted” uses techniques I learned for toning paper for treatments.
If you’re in the area check out the show in the Atrium at the Public Library’s Main Branch. It’s up from June 10th to September 6th, 2015.
Veronica Sorcher (PLCH) — Conservation Technician
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
Recently I’ve had the opportunity to dis-bind a bound edition of our school newspaper, send it off for digitization and then to create a clamshell box to house the single pages when they return. The process of dis-binding bound newspapers is a very delicate one. In this case, The News Record 1971-72, was no exception. Newspapers, by their very nature are meant to be read and thrown away. The paper they are printed on is not meant to last and it fades and becomes acidic and brittle very rapidly. The solution to preserving the paper’s information back in the early 70’s, before digitization was even a thought, was to bind a couple years’ worth of the News Record together in a hard cover much like a large book. This was a good method for preserving a piece of U.C.’s history, however the binding was meant to be permanent and no thought was given to reversing the process at a later date.
When you work for a large institution sometimes the work one does becomes very specialized and segmented. Often times preservation librarians do very little bench work, while the staff they work alongside spend the majority of their time at the bench or evaluating materials in preparation for the bench. Of course this is necessary to keep all the pieces of a lab in motion; but because one of the most important jobs of a preservation librarian is to advocate for the ongoing stewardship of the collection, and by extension the physical work done in the lab, it is important to me that I spend time at the bench.
Making a blank book can be a lot of fun and it’s fairly easy to do if you have the right equipment. A blank book can be almost any size, shape and color that you want it to be. It can be used as a sketchbook, diary, photo album or just about anything you can think of. The type of book I am making is called a quarter binding because approximately one quarter of the cover is cloth while the rest of the cover is paper.
For library items that cannot stand by themselves because of their shape or size, placing them in an enclosure is a good solution to the problem. In this case we made a custom clamshell box with filler because the item, a book on monograms, is shaped like a spade.
This blog explains how we construct an acid-free enclosure to protect a book that is too small to stand alone on a shelf. The dimensions of the book in question are approximately 2” X 3”. As a rule University of Cincinnati Libraries requires that all shelved items be at least 5” X 7”.