More on the evils of mixing adhesives (stickies) and books

As a follow-up to my earlier post, A Book’s Worst Enemy #4 – Adhesives and metals, I have some graphic images to show you that illustrate the damage that an innocent-seeming sticky-note can do to a book! Beware – this is not for the faint of heart. This particular volume was published in 1968, so the paper isn’t as robust as it would be in a newer book, but it’s not a hundred years old, either! And LOOK WHAT HAPPENED:

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So just a word to the wise about stickiness and paper. It’s never a good idea.

A Book’s Worst Enemy #4

Number Four – Adhesives and metals

How many of us have picked up a book that was mended with Scotch tape, only to have the tape come off in our hands as a rigid, brittle strip, leaving a corresponding stain on the still-broken page it was meant to fix? And how many of us have seen the rust that leaves a permanent stain on the page under a paper clip? I know you’re all nodding knowingly. Well, here’s a post to help you ensure your own library is free of casualties that can be easily avoided.

Adhesives
Adhesives like tape will break down over time, losing their stickiness, and likely staining the paper under them in the process. Images and text under the tape can also be rendered illegible by this deterioration. If you want to repair a torn page, use very fine Japanese paper and a starch paste, such as wheat or rice. Such pastes are water-soluble and can be easily removed if necessary.

If the spine of your book is coming apart, don’t use tape or Japanese paper. Go to a book binder who can re-bind it and preserve as much of the old binding as possible. (More on that in a post coming next month.)

Metals
Whether it is a paper clip, staple, straight pin, brad tack or any other type of metal fastener, it’s bad for paper, and therefore bad for books. Aside from the rust that can form, the metals emit contaminants that can break down the paper under and around the fastener, leading to brittle paper. Metal is also rough and can cut paper that is in constant contact with it. The moral of this story is, of course, to keep all metal and adhesive fasteners out of your books! If you do come across some metal tucked into a book that you want to remove, you can do so by hand, but be cautious of the paper underneath it. If you find a grommet that is embedded in the paper, or another type of fastener that is so tightly secured that removal will cause more damage, those are best left in place.

For more information on adhesives, metals and other book enemies, as well as how to combat any ill effects, see Cornell’s library website:
https://www.library.cornell.edu/preservation/librarypreservation/mee/
preservation/basicremedial.html

A Book-Lover’s Candy Store: Libraries

What book blog is complete without a post about libraries?

Having just visited a beautiful library myself, I’d like to open this post up to all of my loyal fans and ask that you write in with a library (or libraries) that you have personally visited. Please tell us which library you were at, a link to it, and a brief description of what made it especially awesome!

I’ll go first to get things going: Last week I went to the University of Toronto’s Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library and it was as glorious as ever:

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With roughly 700,000 holdings, this library is the largest of its kind in Canada, and ranks third (I think) in North America. Their claims to fame are a Shakespeare First Folio, one of the largest Alice in Wonderland collections in the world, and a Babylonian cuneiform tablet, among many other gems and rarities.

Their website is http://fisher.library.utoronto.ca but it’s not tremendously exciting. If you want pictures to feast your eyes on, I suggest doing a simple Google search for Fisher Library images, and sit back and enjoy!