Posted tagged ‘mending’

The Mark of Success

May 27, 2009

Yesterday I had the latest round in a series of discussions with a colleague about the poor quality of modern book bindings.  In particular this person is resistant towards purchasing materials for the library that have shown a marked tendancy to fall apart in the past.

This is a poor argument for a number of reasons, but I never seem to have much success at countering it with this person.  So here’s my case:

1) We have a part time staff member whose primary responsibility is to mend books, and she’s very good at it.

2) In the event that items can’t be repaired, they can certainly be replaced.  Books with cheap bindings have those bindings because they are cheap.  We can afford them.

3) Most importantly, books that fall apart from use is a great thing, it means they’re being read!  Buying one, cheap, book that circulates 15 times then dies is far better than purchasing a book with a binding that  costs 3 times as much but only goes out half as often.  

4) Longevity isn’t really meaningful to us as most books go out of date before they rot, and yes that can go for popular fiction as well as non-fiction.

This all makes sense, right?  Am I missing something that could build up my case?  Please let me know if you think so.

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What is Technical Services?

August 20, 2008

I just got back from the most well attended tech services meeting I’ve ever been to, and it was a really good one.  But I think what I found most fascinating this time around was discovering the huge variety in job descriptions that the various attendees had (a few of us are planning to swap them over e-mail now actually).  At the meeting were librarians responsible for:

cataloging

mending

collection development

acquistions

administration

IT

serials

archiving

and actually two library directors, who also dabble in tech services work.

Granted I do or have done nearly everything on that list at some point, but it’s really amazing to me when you hear that the work done by your entire department (and a few people elsewhere in the library) is done by a single person at another library (who has my sympathy).  I don’t think I’m going to complain about being overworked ever again.

A Plea for Better Bindings

June 11, 2008

I haven’t spent much time focusing on any of the losing battles I’ve fought at my library.  For example, I’ve come to accept that the air conditioner will never work correctly (man it’s been hot in the Northeast this week).   But being who I am, the one issue that continues to bug me more than any other is that we are not buying many graphic novels because the bindings are crap much of the time.

The children’s’ librarian would love to have a larger collection in YA, because she knows how in demand they are.  However, she doesn’t find them to be cost effective when all the pages fall out on the second circulation.  I think we must have some patrons who are just really rough with our books because I don’t have this problem with my own collection (well I did on 3 occasions).  But it’s true that the trades generally have awful glue bindings, without signatures, and often on cheap paper.

There are very few available with anything better.  You can get the new colorized editions of Bone with library bindings, and then there are the crazy Absolute and Omnibus editions that Marvel and DC are putting out (incidentally everyone should get the Howard the Duck Omnibus when it eventually comes out, damn delays).  But the price tag, coupled with the fact that they are heavy enough to act as a fairly daunting weapon makes them a bit inappropriate for libraries.

So I guess this is a plea to publishers to make better products if they want our business.  Because I really want us to do business with them.