Library DrawingThe CONNector

JANUARY 2000Volume 2 Number 1

Preservation Office Sends New and Old Books To The Bindery

Jane Cullinane, Preservation Librarian

Jamie Ortiz of the Preservation Office prepares books for binding.
Jamie Ortiz of the Preservation Office prepares books for binding.

Binding and rebinding are used by the Library to help preserve information. Paperbacks, journals and other periodicals, as well as books needing new covers, are sent to a commercial bindery to get hard cover bindings. An entire year or volume of a periodical is collected before sending the issues to be bound together. Binding issues together helps insure that none will get lost over time. Also, the bound volume's hard cover supports and protects the text, helping the information to remain available for much longer.

The State Library also binds the hearings and proceedings of the Connecticut General Assembly. Many documents produced by Connecticut State agencies are bound to preserve them for future researchers. New paperback publications, such as city directories, are bound to increase their shelf life. All of these are examples of reference materials the State Library intends to keep permanently.

Old books and books with worn bindings are sent to be rebound because it is cheaper to rebind a volume than to replace it. Old, rotted leather bindings, worn-out cloth bindings, and books where some pages or the entire text block has fallen out of the cover are all candidates for re-binding. Before rebinding a worn out book, several factors must be considered. The original paper must still be flexible and the inner margin must be large enough; usually one half inch is sufficient. If the paper is too brittle, or the margin too narrow, or if the original binding should be kept for its aesthetic or historical value, the Preservation Office will not rebind the book.

While a new book bound by the publisher might be worn out after circulating 25 times, a book with a library binding is expected to circulate at least 100 times. Today's library bindings are sturdy, durable and flexible. The library binding industry adheres to a standard that specifies the durability of the materials used when making a binding. A well-bound book will open easily and lie open unaided.

The 9th edition of the standard for library binding is due soon. Look at the National Information Standards Organization (NISO). Search for the keyword "binding." For a list of binderies that adhere to the standard, look at the Library Binding Institute's homepage and click on "Members."

During December 1999, 472 volumes were prepared and sent to the commercial bindery. For every volume sent to the bindery, two information entries are made. One, on the bindery software, tells the bindery what we want done. The other, on the State Library catalog, tells CSL staff and patrons when the item is due back from the bindery.

If you have questions about binding and rebinding call 860-757-6524 or e-mail

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