Librarians Share Their Best Book Repair Tips

Librarians Share Their Best Book Repair Tips

Our community of library professionals has shared so many great book care and repair tips with us on Facebook and Twitter, and now we’re sharing them with you. Of course, the biggest tip we hear is prevention! Teaching kids how to care for library books goes a long way in protecting your collection. But when it comes to preservation and repair, Demco has you covered. Check out the tips from your fellow library workers below.

Ounce_of_preventionAn Ounce of Prevention

  • The best tip is teaching students to properly care for the books so they will need repair less often!
  • My best tip is preventative care. We always cover our paperbacks with CircExtender before putting them into circulation.
  • Use hinge tape! Put it in books that will circulate heavily before they fall apart and they will last much longer.
  • I use a ton of book tape every year. I always tape the spine of new books. This adds years to the life of a book.
  • Use strapping tape to adhere Demco book jacket covers. The reinforced tape lasts longer and is cost effective for those books that won’t be replaced regularly or are checked out frequently (and especially “loved”).
  • Although their intentions are good, I always remind students to let us repair the books instead of trying to repair them at home.
  • My best book care tip is prevention. Run a piece of Demco book tape along the outside of the book spines on paperbacks, or at least the outside top of the spine, to prevent cracking and fraying.
  • I remind Pre-K through 5th grade students about library book care by showing them my backpack of damaged books I couldn’t fix at the beginning of each school year, hopefully to prevent more damaged books.

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Be a Book Repair Hero

Protect your collection and extend its life with book care supplies—you’ll find everything you need for prevention, cleaning and repair. Your books (and your patrons) will thank you!

protect_the_cornersProtect the Cornerstones of Your Collection

  • I do all the repair and processing work, but have little time to do it. My best repair tip is about how to fit that work into free moments in your day. I bought a 4-inch binder and filled it with pocketed divider pages. Each page holds some repair/processing item: corner repair tape, label protectors, genre labels, book pockets, blank spine labels and so on.

    I added a plastic magazine file to hold my rubber stamps, stapler/staples, a small tape dispenser, scissors, pens, hand sanitizer (which I use on a tissue to clean book covers), etc.

    As I have time between students/classes, I can pull out the binder and stand it up on my desk, along with the file and tape guns, and do repair work and processing without having to get up and go into my work area. The only repair work that needs done elsewhere now is whatever needs glue or laminate. It has helped immensely!

  • Be proactive! We love the Reddi Corners on high-circulation hardback books.
  • Many of us have paperbacks that are still in good condition but have a missing corner. Take a piece of cardstock, and cut it to the size of the inside cover. Attach it to the inside of the cover with Demco glue. Adhere it to the edges with tape or laminate. You have just added a couple of years or more to that paperback for very little cost or time.
  • Demco Corner Protectors work the best when applied to the inside of the book. They keep the corners nice and crisp but don’t scrape the sides of other books when you put them back on the shelves.
  • Put a little colored pencil or marker color over the worn corners before applying the corner covers.
  • Use transparent mending tape on the corner tips of torn pages and—poof—the tear looks like it never happened.
  • Plastic laminate covers for paperback books are extending the life of the paperbacks in my collection.
  • I love Demco plastic rolls. I cut and use them as the covers for paperback books. This is a great reinforcement and makes the books last longer.

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glue_to_the_rescueGlue to the Rescue! 

  • Avoid tape for repairs whenever possible. Use Demco glue. It is difficult to remove tape to glue a spine that needs repair. Untrained staff with a roll of tape can mean the end of an otherwise salvageable book.
  • When fixing a spine, use glue and a knitting needle. The knitting needle will easily slide all the way from end to end of the book. It helps to spread the glue carefully. Use a cotton ball to clean up any excess. Use a large square of scrap wood or heavy books to hold it tight until dry. Make sure the books or board are larger and heavier than the repaired book.
  • For goo and spills on the top of the book when it is closed, very fine sandpaper will clean it up! Just sand it away!
  • Use fine sandpaper to even pages after repairing spines.
  • If you have a book that will not be kept forever and the spine breaks, I find that a hot glue gun can fix it in a hurry and get it back into circulation. If you want to keep the book, then use liquid plastic to hold it together. In our library we have an antique book press; when I glue the spine I put it in the press overnight and it holds beautifully.
  • Always use the book glue first. Use a rubber band to hold it together and put a heavy book on it. Let sit at least 24 hours. Then use book tape if needed. If you do tape first, the glue won’t dry.
  • After gluing, I use skewers on the outside of the book to keep the shape of the hinge and put pressure on the correct place before I weigh the book down to “cure.” They come in different diameters, and if the book has really deep hinges, I use round pencils.

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reduce_reuse_recycleReduce, Reuse, Recycle

  • Demco Book Cleaner has transformed grimy, unattractive front and back covers into clean books that are much more likely to be checked out and the barcode more easily read.
  • Use empty barcode sheets instead of wax paper between pages. This creates less trash, saves money and works great!
  • Don’t throw away the Reddi Cover backings. They can be used to keep glue off unwanted areas.
  • I love the Norbond™ Glue, but my tip is to use scrap lamination film between the pages being glued to prevent the glue from sticking in unwanted places. The film is stiff enough to easily slide into the gutter and allow for just the right amount of the page to be glued back in.

For additional information on book care and repair, visit demco.com to watch how-to videos for your projects. You’ll also find a plethora of helpful blog posts on Ideas + Inspiration, including our popular Book Doctor series.

Until then, continue to protect and serve!

Author

Liz Bowie

Liz Bowie

Marketing Content Manager at Demco, Inc.
Liz is the Marketing Content Manager for Demco. Her background includes editorial management and product development of innovative and time-saving tools for schools and libraries, with an emphasis on Common Core, literacy and math. The products she and her team have developed, including classroom games, learning centers and professional development resources, have garnered 46 industry awards for excellence in education. Liz is passionate about promoting literacy through her work and the work of others. If you are interested in sharing your ideas and programming tips on Demco’s Ideas and Inspiration blog or have ideas for topics you’d like to see covered, contact Liz at lizb@demco.com