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Bookbinding with the Girl Scouts

Recently the Bookbinders Museum was approached by local Girl Scout troop 33239 who were planning activities around their Book Artist badge. Librarian, Amelia Grounds, visited the troop and showed various aspects of bookbinding and book construction. Here, she recounts the day’s activities.

Amelia with Girl Scout troop 33239

Amelia with Girl Scout troop 33239.

I enjoy any opportunity to talk about bookbinding and book history, but this was the first time I have been asked to work with the Girl Scouts. The day that I visited was one of several meetings they were devoting to book arts. Because I knew that the girls were going to have another meeting where they would bind their own book, most of the day was spent looking at examples, talking about structures, and watching me bind a book.

We started the day by looking at samples of five different books exhibiting different sizes and styles from the museum collections.  Various binding styles and decorative techniques were explained including full leather, stab, and perfect bound books.

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A full leather historical example.

In addition to the samples I brought, each of the girls brought in an old book to be examined and disassembled.  We talked through each of the different styles of binding they brought and discussed different constructions.  Then we took the knife to the books to discuss the anatomy of their books. This is always a bit stressful for book lovers, but it does provide a great opportunity to examine and discuss the different parts of the book, as well as to visualize what would be involved with putting a book back together.

Disassembling books

Disassembling books

Before launching into the binding demonstration I had planned, I got out my tool box and explained all the tools and materials that I’d be using as part of the demonstration.

Talking tools and materials.

Then all that was left was to start sewing!  This was one of the more time intensive parts of the process, but the girls were very patient and they and their parents had lots of questions for me to answer while I sewed the text block.

Sewing!

The final product

The final product.

Thanks troop 33239, I hope you had as much fun as I did. I’m still enjoying Adelbert the penguin, thanks to you all!

Adelbert the penguin

Adelbert the penguin

-Amelia Grounds, Librarian