Information Professionals Open House

Are you a librarian, archivist, museum specialist, or other kind of information professional? On Tuesday, November 29, from 6-8pm, The American Bookbinders Museum is having a reception just for you in order to share our exhibit on the Florence Flood of 1966, entitled BOOKS AND MUD: THE DROWNED LIBRARIES OF FLORENCE.

Come join us – check out the new exhibit and schmooze with your colleagues!







Books and Mud and Third Thursday


View from the Museum entry, as the cases are assembled.

After months of planning, the staff of the Bookbinders Museum–and the curators of Books and Mud: the drowned libraries of Florence–arrived at this week barely believing that the time had come to put everything–the text, the photos, the special materials–together. 

Working with exhibit curators Tom Conroy and Elizabeth Ryan, ABM librarian Elspeth Olson (with the able assistance of library volunteers George Carlson and Mara Crovello, and all-hands help from museum staffers Stephanie Stokes and Madeleine Robins) assembled the many parts–over 100 photos; books, magazines and maps–in an attempt to evoke the essence of the 1966 Florence flood, its aftermath, and its lasting effect on book conservation and restoration.

Practically speaking, this involved the use of ladders, duct tape, the Museum’s Hickok board shear, 133.3 square feet of mat board (white and cocoa brown), burnishers, vinyl lettering, and an extendable pole (for hanging fishing line strung with folios). As the photos seen here attest, it was a slow, deliberate process.



Quotation over the entrance to the exhibit room.

We hope that visitors to the exhibition will be struck, not only by the world response to flood and its threat to world treasures in 1966, but by the relevance of the subject fifty years later. In a world where countless floods have threatened libraries, museums, and collections world wide, the lessons of Florence are more important than ever.


Tape climbs the wall to show the depth of Florence floods of various years; the 1966 flood reached a depth of 22 feet–taller than the ABM ceiling.


Cases in position for the exhibit opening.

Books and Mud: the drowned libraries of Florence, runs October 20, 2016 through January 20, 2016 at the American Bookbinders Museum, 355 Clementina Street, in San Francisco. The museum is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10am – 4pm. Admission to the exhibit is free. 

Join Us for Third Thursday at the Bookbinders Museum

3rdThursdayMarchOn March 17 between 5:30 – 8pm, the Bookbinders Museum will be open late for Third Thursday, honoring St. Patrick’s Day, Women’s History Month, and our new exhibit on Women Bookbinders. Come take a tour, cruise the bookstore, or check out a selection of material from the Museum’s collection about women in binderies.

If you haven’t had the opportunity to check out what the Bookbinders Museum has to offer, here’s your chance. We look forward to seeing you!

Women in Bookbinding

woman-bookbinderOpening Today: The Woman Bookbinder looks at women in both trade and artisanal bookbinderies through the lens of material from the museum’s own collection of books and ephemera. Curated by ABM Librarian Elspeth Olson, the exhibition runs through May.

Bound to be Held: A Book Show

Josh Greene. Photo by Gary Sexton. Bound to Be Held: A Book Show. On view March 26–June 28, 2015. The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.

Josh Greene. Photo by Gary Sexton. Bound to Be Held: A Book Show. On view March 26–June 28, 2015 at The Contemporary Jewish Museum, San Francisco.

Our neighbors at the Contemporary Jewish Museum have a book exhibit opening tomorrow.

Celebrating the book as object, artist Josh Greene turns the gallery into a place where celebrities and private individuals present books that have been important to their lives, and shared readings take place over the run of the show. The exhibition, in two parts (Read by Famous and The Library of Particular Significance), gently coerces the visitor to think about how they might interact with one another in the museum space. Learn more here.

Receive two-for-one entry off full price admission when you mention the American Bookbinders Museum! Visit the exhibition between March 26 and  June 28, 2015 to make the most of this generous offer.

Hand Bookbinders of California 43rd Members Exhibition


The American Bookbinders Museum is pleased announce that we will be hosting the Hand Bookbinders of California’s 43rd Annual Members’ Exhibition this summer from June 12 – September 13, 2015. This will be ABM’s first exhibition in our newly remodeled facility!  We hope, it will be the first of many exciting collaborations between our organizations.