One of my favorite parts of working at the Archives is mending. As a trade off with the library that happened Winter 2017, the archives ended up with mending duties. The library sends all of their damaged books down to the archives, and we fix them using various methods, and tools.
My specific title in the archives is Arrangement and Description Specialist, which entails organizing, weeding, and foldering documents in a way that will make it easy for researchers to find information in the future. As much as I love my job, it can get repetitive and slow. Lucky for me, I get a two hour break every week to mend books. I don’t know if it is my love of books that makes mending so enjoyable, or the instant gratification of seeing a book go from damaged to fixed.
I wanted to share that feeling of satisfaction, so here is a series of before and after photos of books that I have successfully mended.
Book #1 only had a broken hinge, so all it needed was some hinge tape on the inside cover.
Book #2 had a worn spine and edges, so I used fabric tape to protect the edges and spine. We have tons of different colored tapes, so I chose the one I thought looked the best. In this case, black on black.
Book #3’s text block had to be removed because both hinges were loose. I fixed this by using double stitch tape to secure the text block to the cover. The white tool next to the book is a bone folder, used to smooth out bubbles and secure tape.
Book #4 had the same problem as #2: Worn spine and edges. So, I used fabric tape to protect them. In the background, you can see the very official jars of glue we use to secure the tape.
As you can tell, books often fall apart in predictable ways. Book #5’s text block came unattached from its cover (like in #3) so I used double stitch tape to secure it back on.
Book #6’s edges were very worn, and the spine needed extra protection. So, I used fabric tape to cover the edges, spine, and corners to protect them from future damage.
This final book doesn’t have an after photo (because I forgot to take one), but here it is in the process of mending. The spine had disconnected from the cover, and needed to be attached, so I used fabric tape to reattach them.
If you want to see some more mending photos, check out the slideshow below! To read more in-depth about the processes we use, there’s a past Northern Tradition post about that, too. See it here: Feature Spotlight: Mending
This post was written by Eliza Compton and formatted by Emily Tinder.