I repair books in the University Library's Book Repair unit. The core responsibility of Book Repair is to maintain the items in the circulating collections of the University Library. The basic duties can involve small repairs (mending torn pages, reattaching loose pages, correcting spine information errors, etc.) or greater damage problems (restoring integrity to the leaf attachment or constructing a new cover). The size of our collection makes the possibilities appear endless. Assessment of the damage and figuring out the appropriate treatment is often half of the job. The Book Repair staff is also part of the Conservation Lab team that is called in when disasters occur inside the Library infrastructure. Water damage is the most common of these calamities. But fire and smoke damage, mold outbreaks and insect infestations have all been seen more than once.
I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1969 with a BFA in painting. 've had over twenty years of experience in the book field. I have worked in a small, commercial bindery creating new books in editions ranging from single copies to editions of one hundred or more. More recently, with the Book Repair team, my focus has shifted to making already existing books shelf-ready. This can involve correcting publishers' flaws or putting the pieces back together after many years of use. Or even a combination of the two. With a large part of the collection coming from all over the globe, there is no end to the repair potential. Or new things to learn.