PCL holds book repair workshop

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A student participates in the Perry-Castañeda Library’s Commons Workshop on book care and book preservation Tuesday.

A librarian at the Perry-Castañeda Library said in a workshop Tuesday afternoon that keeping personal books in a cool temperature and dry environment with no direct exposure to sunlight will help prevent decay.

The workshop is part of the fall 2015 Learning Commons Workshops located on the main floor of PCL in the Learning Commons.

Wendy Martin, manager of digitization services and conservator for the UT Libraries, said this workshop is geared for personal collections, not library collections. She also encouraged leaving the care of rare books to professional services.

“Mold thrives in a warm, moist environment,” Martin said, while showing around an old book covered in mold.

In addition to basic storing and proper handling, Martin said it is also important to avoid storing the items in an attic or basement.

Later during the event, Martin gave a hands-on demonstration of minor repair techniques including mending torn pages, reattaching torn-out pages and consolidating damaged corners of covers.

Martin said she has been teaching the workshop, which is part of the fall 2015 Learning Commons Workshops, for six years and working with UT Libraries for 10 years.

“I enjoy doing this kind of outreach,” Martin said. “Most of what I do is behind the scenes, so it’s nice to occasionally have the opportunity to share what I know and what we do with the University community.”

While the content of the workshop has not changed in the six years Martin has led it, this year, Martin introduced the Austin Books Arts Center, a resource offering bookbinding and book arts workshops. The workshop was also held for the first time in the newly built Learning Commons, which suits the purposes of the class better than the PCL basement did, according to Martin.

Jennifer Lee, assistant director for technical services and head of preservation and digital curation services for UT Libraries, said, over the years, participants have come back to ask follow-up questions and look at new materials.

“These are things an average person can do, with supplies and tape and minimal training,” Lee said.

Dale Correa, Middle Eastern studies librarian, said she wanted to preserve her childhood books, including a 30-year-old copy of “Where the Wild Things Are.”

“I would like to repair them so my daughter could keep using them, too,” Correa said. “I’m going to go home and apply these [techniques].”

Martin said the PCL plans to hold a workshop on preserving digital materials in spring 2016.