Did you know that the basement of the LLC is home to a book hospital? The LLC is thrilled to have a book repair specialist on staff. Part-time staff member Jenn Butler works to ensure that the LLC’s books are in good shape.
One of the main focuses of the book hospital is surgery. Jenn specializes in mending books that are losing pages or that have weak joints. Whenever a student worker or library staff member notices a book that is in poor condition, that book is sent to Jenn. One of the most common book injuries is when the hinges become loose and the text block starts to separate from the cover. Jenn first determines the level of damage to the book’s hinges and then takes appropriate action. If it is just a little bit loose, she can use some specialized book glue and double-sided tape to reattach the text block to the cover. After it dries for a week, the book is ready to go back on the shelf. If the cover is completely loose or barely hanging on, Jenn has to take a more invasive approach. In these cases, she cuts the text block away from the book with a scalpel. After it has been removed, she cuts away any stray bits of string. Then, she reattaches the text block to one side of the book cover with book glue and double-sided tape. After waiting a week, she attaches the other side. After another week of waiting, the book is ready to be released back to the collection.
The Book Hospital is not confined to surgery, though. It also specializes in Wellness and Preventative Care. Before books are placed on the shelf, the book hospital has procedures to prolong the books’ lives. For example, the LLC frequently purchases paperback books because the cost savings over hardcovers are quite substantial. The downside of this is that paperback covers tend to wear out earlier than the more sturdy hardcovers. So, before any paperbacks hit the shelves, they stop first with Jenn. She fits them with Kapco covers, which are special hardened plastic book covers. These Kapco covers mimic hardcovers and ensure our books have a longer life.
Jenn also specializes in spine alignments. One of the ways that books can wear out quickly is if their spines are forced to absorb too much pressure. Jenn trains our student workers on ways to mitigate spine damage before it happens. This includes sliding the bookends down on partially empty shelves so that books are tight and shelving books with the spine facing out. These tasks may seem simple, but these preventative measures really help preserve the life of our books.
The LLC is very appreciative of the care that Jenn takes with our books. Her efforts help ensure we have a healthy collection.