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Book repair workshop held at CCMES

by Nancy Hamlett

Treat books with respect. Handle them carefully. Somewhere in our memories we all remember a librarian’s warnings.

So then why was a group of adults in the library at C.C. Meneley Elementary School with Exacto knives poised above the spines of some of the books?

Dianne Rogers, the school’s librarian, explained. “Wells Fargo Bank approved a $500 grant submitted by Pam Petite at Gardnerville Elementary School to be used for repairing books in our elementary schools,” she said. “These are volunteers learning the proper techniques.”

The workshop, taught by Sandy Wright from Alpine County, Calif., was held on Nov. 7 and 14 in the CCMES library. Wright, who is a crafter specializing in leatherwork, learned the art of repairing books by using the trial and error method. She shared her expertise with volunteers from several schools in the district.

n In between part. “Taking apart the book is easy and putting it back together is easy,” said Wright. “It’s the in between part that takes the time and the attention to detail.”

Wright began the session by identifying the different parts of a book and describing the materials necessary to do the job properly.

“You can find things that say they make the job easier,” said Wright. “But I’ve tried them all. I’m showing you what works best, and what lasts the longest.”

While Wright discussed the basics with one group, Barbara Howard, who works with Wright repairing books in the Alpine County Library, answered questions and gave advice to those ready to dive in and try for some hands-on experience.

Debbie Anderson, a library technician at Zephyr Cove Elementary School, nervously cut into a pastedown sheet. “Psychologically it’s hard to do,” she said as her hand shook slightly. “From an early age we’re taught to treat books kindly. It’s hard to purposely tear one apart.”

Rogers’ goal is to eventually have trained volunteers at each elementary school in the district who can repair and clean books for their particular school.

“The Wells Fargo grant gave us enough money to buy the supplies that we need for one location, plus Gary Ceragioli from Alpine County built and donated book presses,” said Rogers. “Each school can now send books to us for repair. But I want to expand the program so that each school has its own core. First, we need the volunteers to learn how to repair the books, and then the money to purchase the supplies for each location.”

June Bathgate is one of the volunteers who has already received the training and currently works at the library to repair books.

“I love libraries and I am a reader,” said Bathgate. “I’m willing to do anything to help at the school, but this just seemed to be something extra special that I wanted to do.”

Although it may be some time before other schools in the district have their own repair stations, Carol Reid, a volunteer from Jacks Valley Elementary School, said that it is important to learn the techniques now.

“I will work here (CCMES) and gain confidence,” said Reed. “Then if the program expands, and the librarian wants me, I’ll do the same thing there.”

According to Rogers the grant from Wells Fargo enabled the schools to save many books that would have normally been destined for the trash pile.

“Books wear out,” said Rogers. “That’s a good sign because it means that children are reading them, but before this we didn’t have the knowledge to repair them properly.

“Sometimes books go out of print, or there isn’t enough money in the budget to replace them. This plan extends the life span of the books.”

Rogers said that another workshop would be available in 1999. If you are interested in participating, contact your school’s librarian, or leave a message for Rogers at CCMES at 265-3154.

The Record-Courier E-mail: rc@tahoe.com

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