Book Repair Reback-a-thon

Wednesday August 14, 2013
Submitted by Susan Hansen

Cart of Finished Rebacked Books

Cart of Finished Rebacked Books

Our goal in the UI Libraries’ book repair unit is to return a circulating book to the shelf as soon as possible; however, sustained speed is not a top qualification for our students. In the day-to-day operation of the unit, we don’t have races. But when I mentioned an unofficial record for number of rebacks performed, two current student assistants immediately set a plan in motion to surpass that record.

Larry Houston and Sarah Luko are students in the UI Center for the Book and work in the UI Libraries’ preservation department. Both possess exceptional hand skills and an exemplary work ethic; they have mastered the technique of rebacking. After gathering volumes with damaged spines, Sarah and Larry went into production mode. They worked in batches, side by side, replacing the damaged spines with new cloth and reattaching the original spine piece when possible. The dynamic duo ran out of books before the end of the work day. The final tally was 84 rebacks, a number roughly twice the expected production for two experienced student assistants. Kudos to Sarah and Larry!

Minor Repairs Where Needed

Minor Repairs Where Needed


Trimming Loose Threads

Trimming Loose Threads

Into the Book Press

Into the Book Press

Finished stack, showing all the spine labels that need to be re-attached

Finished stack, showing all the spine labels that need to be re-attached