by Delia

As Preservation Week continues, it is important to remember why this week exists.  Preservation Week was begun by the American Library Association with many partners in 2010 in order to bring awareness to the preservation needs of collections.  It has continually grown over the years and helped to raise awareness for the materials that need preservation.

 In recognition of this week, The Genealogy Center has a full week of programming to assist our customers in their own preservation needs.  The Genealogy Center will also be posting blogs on different items in our collection that have been damaged and tips on how to prevent such damage.  We will also discuss how preserve the damaged material so it will not be further damaged.

If you have noticed, The Genealogy Center has no paper bound books. We receive  paper bound books (purchases and donations), but to insure the volume, and its precious information, will last longer, we hard bind everything. When a volume wears our through normal use, we will rebind the volume in a new cover. But hard-backed books are not impervious to hard use, and the spine of a book is one of the most vulnerable places. “Breaking” the spine so that the volume will lay open flat or to facilitate copying is just that: breaking. As the glue, backing and threads snap, one can hear the book suffer. Your own books at home, both paper and hard bound, need to be respected. When I was much younger, before I realized that some people would break the spine to make a paperback easier to hold open, I loaned a favorite book to a friend – who returned it with the spine broken. It wasn’t long before pages started to fall out. Needless to say, I never loaned that person another book, and took greater care to whom I loaned in the future!

The spines will also break if the book is shelved with the spine on the top: the sheer weight of the pages will pull the spine loose. Many people think that if a number of books are shelved together with the spines up, the press will eliminate this damage, but that is a fallacy. Gravity is there whether there’s one book of ten.

Check your personal library for weak spines. Make sure that books are shelved with the spines out or lay the volume flat. There are several YouTube videos on simple repair for broken book spines. Just check on Google under “repairing broken book spines.” And if you do loan books, let the borrower know that you expect the same care given to your books that you would provide!