Friday, February 7, 2014

Don't repair your library books

Tape: Just say, NO!

Books are made of paper, and it is true that paper isn't very durable, so inevitably it will get torn. So what is a person to do? Most of the time what happens is, we reach for something to repair that torn paper. A lot of you use tape to quickly patch up a torn page or to reinforce an old binding. Librarians and people in the business of book repair have very strong feelings AGAINST using tape to repair books. Over time, regular tape will turn brown and the chemicals in the adhesive will become a part of the paper. At that point, it will no longer stick and hold the pages together, but will just peel right off leaving a brown stain behind, and the biggest problem, it will no longer hold the ripped page together. And not everyone chooses to use clear tape! We see all types of tape used to repair library materials. I guess whatever is handy will do, right? No way! 

Did you know that the library staff would prefer that if your library book rips or the pages fall out of the binding, that you not repair the damage? We would really prefer that you let us do it, we have the correct materials and the experience in repairing library materials. Most of the time if you make a repair with the incorrect materials it causes more damage to the book, sometimes making a correct repair impossible. Most people think if they repair the damage that we won't charge them a damage fee. Twice today I have had "repaired" items brought to my attention. I charged double what I would have for the simple damages, simply because the tape that was used was cheap cellophane that will yellow and not hold the pages in a few months time. It takes staff time to try and remove this cheap tape. Sometimes it is impossible to remove and thus makes it so we have to replace the item.

Here is the advice I give to those who come in to tour the library. Don't repair library books, they don't belong to you. Just bring them in and we will repair them properly. Accidents happen and sometimes it isn't your fault at all. For example, pages falling out of a poor binding (our LDS fiction collection is a great example, the publisher uses cheap, brittle glue on all of their books!).  Perhaps the glue or stitching is worn out, this is general damage from use and we don't charge for that type of thing. Now, if your child or dog has chewed the cover or if you spill your spaghetti O's on the pages, we will charge you. We do try and adjust the cost to the age and use of the book, even if the damage is your fault.  We know it's painful to pay for damage to a book, so try and keep them safe. Don't read in the bathtub, etc.(but that is another topic, I will save for another day) Remember, just say NO! to tape.

Thank you!
Michele Schumann, Children's Librarian

1 comment:

Rachel said...

This is good to know! Thanks for the post. I've always wondered whether I should try to repair tears I certainly won't!