A brittle book from the general collections came in today whose binding is holding on only by its spine lining. The paper and sewing are brittle and several pages are loose. It failed even a single fold of a (very very tiny) double-fold test, so it is too brittle to repair. No problem, we’ll make a box and give the librarian the option of having a digital or paper surrogate made.

What caught my eye, however, was the note she wrote saying “Please repair spine, don’t put in a box since that won’t help.” Until we decide to make a surrogate, boxing actually does help:

  • It keeps a fragile book with loose pieces contained in one place
  • It provides protection from wear and tear
  • It reduces light exposure
  • It alerts a reader that this is a fragile book
  • It keeps a brittle book in the stacks and available for the next use (this book can still be used, as long as the patron is very careful…we trust that they will be)

We try to repair everything that comes to us but sometimes we just can’t and we need to do something else. Creating a protective enclosure is one of those things we can do to keep a brittle book in the collections.




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4 Responses to What Good Is A Box?

  1. Such a succinct explanation for why boxing sometimes IS the answer. I'm tempted to print out your bullet points on little cards to hand out to the occasional nay-sayer!

  2. Beth Doyle says:

    Feel free to use our bullet points. If you have other good reasons why boxing is a good option, let me know. The more the merrier.

  3. [...] written before about why we create enclosures for our materials. In short it is to protect books from abrasion, [...]

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