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Understanding and caring for bookbindings (full)

Preservation Advisory Centre Training Day

Thursday 7 November 2013

British Library Centre for Conservation
96 Euston Road, London NW1 2DB
Location Details

This training day will help librarians and archivists understand the types of bindings in their collections and will provide guidance on handling and describing bindings and on appropriate conservation techniques. Participants will be given an overview of the history of Western bookbindings, with examples drawn from British Library collections. There will be a an opportunity to visit the studios in the British Library Centre for Conservation. At the end of the day participants will be able to:

  • recognise different bookbinding structures and materials
  • describe bookbinding styles and structures
  • understand why bookbindings deteriorate
  • minimise the risk of damage to bookbindings
  • commission appropriate conservation work.

Feedback from previous participants

  • I will handle the books with more care and look at the bindings and the coverings of the books. It is not just the text that is of value. I didn't know there was so much variety.
  • I have a better appreciation of historic bindings and will be able to catalogue my bindings.
  • I will buy more supports and make their use commonplace, revise photocopying guidelines and supply bookmarks. I will emphasise making/buying enclosures for several items rather than rebinding a few.


10.00 Introductions and welcome
10.15 Binding types and structures and their significance
David Pearson, Guildhall Library
11.45 Break
12.00 Handling bindings: the use of supports and protective enclosures
Sarah Hamlyn, British Library
13.00 Lunch
13.45 Describing bindings
Karen Limper-Herz, British Library
14.25 The conservation of bookbindings
Roswitha Ketzer, British Library
15.25 Break
15.40 Tour of the Centre for Conservation
16.00 End