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Meet Steve Berry, Bestselling Author & Preservation Week's National Spokesperson

By Kristin Masters. Apr 22, 2013. 1:29 PM.

Topics: Book Care, Book News

Today we celebrate Preservation Week! Organized by the American Library Association (ALA), the event reminds us of the importance of preserving not only our personal past, but also the vast resources of our libraries. In 2005, a comprehensive national survey showed that US institutions hold over 4.8 billion items, 63% of which are in libraries. Uncounted items held by individuals also include books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, ephemera, audio recordings, and objects.


Meet Brien Beidler, Charleston's Newest Book Binder!

By Kristin Masters. Jan 9, 2013. 1:17 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Book Care

Here at Books Tell You Why, we love all things Charleston, especially the Charleston Library Society. Recently the Society opened up a new bindery and asked an emerging talent in the book binding world to take its helm. At 22, Brien represents a new generation of dedication to rare and antiquarian books. Brien was kind enough to chat with us about how he discovered the craft of book binding, the projects he's worked on, and the future of his craft.


Preserving Rare Books through the Centuries: Silking

Over the years, book conservators have used a wide variety of techniques for preserving, conserving, and repairing rare books. Some of these techniques are more effective than others; indeed, many practices that were commonplace in centuries past actually damaged rare books, rather than protecting them. Contemporary conservators often find themselves having to undo the work of their well-meaning predecessors.


Protecting Your Rare Books: Maintaining the Right Environmental Conditions

Regardless of where you live, maintaining the ideal environmental conditions in your personal library presents specific challenges. Conservation of rare books requires keeping your library at a certain temperature and humidity.


Should You Ditch the White Gloves for Handling Rare Books?

We rare book collectors have all seen it: a dealer, librarian, or other expert dons a spotless pair of white gloves before laying a single finger on some priceless volume. The practice is especially common in special collections libraries, where white gloves are considered an integral part of protecting antiquarian books. Should collectors follow suit and use the gloves for handling antiquarian books in their personal libraries?


Banishing Dirt from the Rare Book Library

By Kristin Masters. Jun 26, 2012. 2:00 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Book Care

If you’ve found rare books in unlikely places, such as garage sales or in long forgotten boxes, you’ve probably also encountered books that are in less than pristine condition. These books may be valuable—and downright dirty. But should you clean these rare books, or leave the dirt as “part of the book’s patina”?


A Quick Guide to Rare Book Bindings

Never judge a book by its cover, right? In the case of rare books, the cover or more accurately, the binding of a book can significantly impact the book's value. Collectors should know about the materials and terminology associated with book bindings.


Win the Battle against the Bookworm

By Kristin Masters. Nov 30, 2011. 7:44 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Book Care

Mother Nature can wreak havoc on rare books. Sunning, water damage, and humidity can all cause damage to your collection. Another enemy of your books may also be lurking on your shelves: the dreaded bookworm. Bookworms will tunnel right into the block, riddling the book with countless gullies and channels.


Antiquarian Books - Is It More Than "Old Book Smell"?

By Kristin Masters. Nov 23, 2011. 1:56 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Book Care

We all know that aroma. Perhaps it evokes trips to the library as a child, or the cozy ambience of a grandfather’s study. It’s the distinctive scent of old or used books.


Protecting Gilt Edges on Rare Books

By Kristin Masters. Oct 26, 2011. 2:17 AM.

Topics: Rare Books, Book Collecting, Book Care

The process of gilding has existed since ancient times, when both Greeks and Egyptians covered wooden statues in metal. The technique was picked up by book binders as a means to protect pages from the oils and dirt of human hands—in addition to making the book itself more beautiful.


About this blog

How can I identify a first edition? Where do I learn about caring for books? How should I start collecting? Hear from librarians about amazing collections, learn about historic bindings or printing techniques, get to know other collectors. Whether you are just starting or looking for expert advice, chances are, you'll find something of interest on blogis librorum.

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