Library Binding for Preservation

You have probably walked into a library at some point and seen rows of books in solid-colored hardbound covers; some may have muted-color pictures on the cover, but more often than not they have plain covers. Title and author appear on the spine and cover in unornamented white, yellow, or light-blue lettering. These books may be familiar to you as run-of-the-mill library books, but what you might not know is that these books are specially bound in what is called “library binding” — a formal bookbinding practice with standards and guidelines that has been around since 1923 (1). That’s right, you can get specially certified as a Library Binder.

What is Library Binding?

Library binding is a preservation technique for library books, which often face the tough reality of rough handling, many borrowers over their circulating lifetime, and the need to stick around for a long while.  Library binding is a protective hardbound binding that is meant to protect the book, or bound set of serials, for durability and long-term preservation. The longer the shelf-life of library books, the more the library can save on the cost of re-buying books over time. Additionally, books are kept in better condition, providing a nicer experience for the reader. (more…)