From the preservation workbench: spine repair

January 17, 2012

Earlier this fall I tested a practice of repairing a common book ailment – the floppy spine — with my tools and a sample piece of Japanese mulberry paper I obtained from Gaylord.  This was my first attempt, and I took pictures for each step to remind myself in case I ever need to do this again.  This kind of repair would probably be best for books which don’t see a lot of circulation — something more for closed/special collections.  If you’ve got this problem in a circulating book, you might consider just replacing it.

spine repair: spine flap

So here is the patient.  The cover medium (in this case, leather) has cracked and split at the front hinge, allowing the spine to flop open.  I think this method could work if the spine cover is completely detached, but this book still had the back hinge intact.

spine repair: japanese seikishu paper

Choose a piece of Japanese mulberry paper of about equal weight to the heft of the book.  This is natural-toned Seikishu paper, which is of medium weight.  Score and tear a piece the same height as the book in one direction, and 2.25 times the book thickness in the other.  If the paper has a grain, the grain should run top to bottom, and you’ll eventually fold along the grain.

spine repair: silicone release paper

Cut a piece of silicone release paper slightly longer than the book is tall, and just slightly narrower than the spine is thick (far left in photo). You can also use a double-layer of waxed paper.

spine repair: forming the tube

Measure the thickness of the spine, and fold the seikishu into a flat tube that same thickness.  The seikishu should overlap upon itself.  You’ll test the size with a dry-fitting shortly, but it’s okay to check it now.  The folded tube should just fit inside the closed spine flap in all dimensions.

spine repair: tube/release paper assembly

Place the piece of silicone release paper inside the folded seikishu tube as shown.  Eventually you will be spreading glue on both sides of the tube, the release paper will prevent the two sides of the tube from sticking together.

spine repair: dry fit

Dry-fit the seikishu tube/release paper “assembly” into the damaged spine.  The tube should be fully hidden by the spine flap, and the tube should not stick out the ends of the spine (you’re seeing only the release paper in this photo, and you’ll eventually remove that).

spine repair: tying tape pieces

Before any gluing, pause and cut 4-5 pieces of cotton tying tape, each long enough to wrap around the book from spine to fore-edge and tie snugly.  You will use these pieces after you finish the glue steps, so have them within arm’s reach.

spine repair: preparing to glue

Line the work surface with scrap paper.  Place the seikishu tube/release paper “assembly” on the scrap paper so that the overlap is facing up.  Carefully but thoroughly spread glue on the visible side of the seikishu tube, making sure to glue the overlap together.  Avoid getting glue on the release paper.

spine repair: glue closeup

Close-up of the seikishu tube and release paper after gluing.

spine repair: tube placement

Handling the tube by the release paper ends, place the tube into the damaged spine, glued side down.  Carefully press the tube into the spine flap so that the glue adheres to the flap.  Do not remove the release paper yet.

spine repair: glue other side of tube

Carefully but thoroughly spread glue on the visible side of the seikishu tube.  Again, avoid brushing glue onto the silicone release paper.  The glue should cover the seikishu well, but not be gloppy or drippy.

spine repair: almost done

With the release paper still intact, bring the flap up into position so that the top face of the seikishu tube adheres to the existing spine of the book.  Hold in place for one minute (or call for a second set of hands for the next step).

spine repair: tie it up!

Snugly tie the book as shown in the photo, with one piece of tying tape placed about every 1 to 1.5 inches or so.  The ties are only meant to hold the spine flap in place while the glue dries.  Don’t tie them so tightly that the book’s shape becomes distorted.  Leave the ties on overnight.

spine repair: all done

When the glue is firmly set, carefully untie or cut the tying tape.  Open the book slightly, and slowly pull the silicone release paper from the repaired spine.  It should come out fairly easily, as the glue should not have stuck to it.

This repair should be able to withstand careful use; it might not withstand standard circulation handling.

Carrie Phillips

Archives & Special Collections Librarian

From the Archives: “Our Campus Trees” by Oliver D. Diller

October 13, 2011

Oliver “Ollie” Diller ’30 was instrumental in tree planting and preservation on the Bluffton University campus for many years.  In the 2007 President’s forum, President Harder noted that, “hundreds of the trees on campus today are Ollie’s trees—both the trees most common to northwest Ohio as well as the specimen trees that add variety and uniqueness to Bluffton’s landscape:  trees such as the little-leaf linden, the persimmon, the ironwood, the maiden hair Ginko tree, the tuliptree, Japanese zelkova, cornelian cherry, bald cypress, red horse chestnut, and Serbian spruce.” 

Diller served on the Board of Trustees from 1943 to 1970.  On October 15, 1965, the day of President Robert Kreider’s inauguration, Diller gave the speech below as part of a chapel service.  The inaugural grove to which he refers is located between Musselman Library and College Hall.  Look for the stone marker located near the top of the ramp to the lower entrance of the library.

As fall colors begin to appear here on campus and harvest happens in our surrounding rural areas, it seems fitting to share Diller’s words about trees and their part in our greater world.

Our Campus Trees – A Symbol of Continuity

We all know that the life of a tree may far transcend the life of any human being.  Our interesting campus is an attractive all-aged forest which contains trees ranging from one year old seedlings to mature trees over 200 years of age.

Bluffton’s beautiful campus, formerly known as Eaton’s Woods, was originally a mixed forest association consisting of some of the elms, ashes, and maples of the “Great Black Swamp” of northwestern Ohio in combination with many other species which made up the beech-maple and oak-hickory forests of the better drained soils of the state.

This morning we are dedicating a small portion of the campus as an “Inaugural Grove.” In a short time we will be planting seven small oak seedlings on the fringe of this grove which already contains a natural stand of maples, oaks, basswood, cherry, and other native hardwoods, with an understory of shrubs, herbs, and wildflowers.

Some of you will probably be disappointed in the small size of the seven oak trees we are planting.  This is being done with a purpose.  In America, we think we have to do things in a big way.  We equate bigness with greatness.  This was brought home to me very forcibly when I attended the III World Forestry Congress in Finland a few years ago.  Some of us were being entertained in a yacht club near Helsinki.  There was a beautiful rainbow out across the bay.  An American in his typical tourist modesty threw out his chest and said, “Well, that’s an American rainbow.”  But a Finn sitting next to him replied, “No, you Americans may have a bigger one but that one is ours.”

When I went to the New York World’s Fair last year I attended the dedication of the New Queens Botanic Garden.  In typical Robert Moses fashion they had planted 30-foot tall beech trees most of which were half dead by the end of the first growing season.  The engineers didn’t understand that a big tree must have an adequate root system to support it.  The administrators in charge of this project decided they had to have big trees right now.  Their biological ignorance resulted in “unhappy” trees and a tremendous waste of money.

In my opinion, one of the great virtues which Americans need to cultivate individually and collectively is patience.  We should learn that greatness has a small beginning and a small seed can eventually result in a rewarding harvest.  The seven trees we are planting today range from one to three years of age from the acorn.  There are many lessons we can learn from an acorn.  One of the Bible’s profoundest lessons is a simple one: that “he who would find his life must lose it.” An oak tree can be born only as the acorn dies.  Those who would follow Christ must forget self and become servants of men.  This was the example set by Schweitzer, Kagawa, and many other stalwart Christians.

I believe it is generally recognized that history and mathematics form the bridges between the humanities and the sciences.  Historians tell us that civilization can only grow when there is a release of surplus energy which allows man time to think and to create.  Therefore, its first necessity is to find surplus wealth and to use it to provide leisure and power.  To acquire this wealth one civilization after another has raided the landscape’s capital, robbing it of trees, fertility, and water.  But ultimately, no civilization can survive unless it learns to repay this Capital and to live on the income of its natural resources.  Our present civilization has carried this destruction of the landscape farther than any of its predecessors, and this poses one of the most urgent questions of today: “Can we repair the ravages of the past and so manipulate the landscape that it will yield an income on which the people of the world can live?”

In terms of food production, we have demonstrated that we can provide a huge surplus in the United States but whether sufficient world resources can be made available to achieve this end on a sustained yield basis in the future is another question.

Throughout history, man’s attitude to the landscape and the good earth has shown sometimes a negative and sometimes a positive approach.  The negative approach regards the landscape as a storehouse to be plundered or an enemy to be subdued.  William Blake wrote in one of his letters, “The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way.”  In northwestern Ohio we have taken a negative approach toward our forests.  We regard them as impediments to progress so we bulldoze them out.  The result has been more corn, soybeans, and tomatoes along with a lowered water table, more severe winds, and more soil erosion which has contributed to the pollution of Lake Erie.  Livestock grazing and clearing of our woodlands has taken its toll in birds and wildlife.

Bluffton College is and has been fortunate in having an administration, trustees, faculty, students, friends, and consultants who take a positive approach toward our landscape.  We are trying to cultivate a conscious enjoyment and appreciation of our whole created world.  We have plans for the development of not only a more beautiful campus but we have hopes for a greenbelt area, woodland biological laboratories, and outdoor recreation areas on the fringes of the campus and throughout Allen, Hancock, and Putnam counties as an auxiliary program of Bluffton College.

At least five small countries in various parts of the world have shown creative efforts in developing a balanced quality environment.  Japan, Switzerland, Finland, Holland, and Israel, entirely different in climate, geography, and history are each building pleasant landscapes within which men may live full lives.  The leaders in these countries realize that the landscape is an interrelated, biological complex in which water conservation, forestry, agriculture, and all the works of man and nature are linked and interacting.  They recognize the truth of Aldo Leopold’s statement that land is not a commodity belonging to man but a commodity to which man belongs.

I have here two acorns which I recently obtained from a swamp white oak tree just outside Founders Hall.  The Mother of these acorns is one of the most attractive trees on the campus.  It was planted about twenty years ago.  Today President Kreider will plant a one year old seedling which is a progeny of this tree.  This represents a symbol of continuity of office from the Ramseyer to the Kreider administration.  The remaining six oak seedlings will be planted by persons representing the student body, faculty, alumni, the community, the trustees, and our President emeritus.

These are all native species and I am sure they will “feel at home” on the campus in association with the other trees already growing in this inaugural grove.

Last spring when I visited a nurseryman in the Cleveland area I complimented him on the excellent appearance of his plants.  He said, “I’ll tell you my secret.  I smile at them every time I walk by and they smile back at me.” Martin Buber told us we can learn to love the world — things, animals, people, stars — as Thou, and that when we do love them and address them as Thou, they always respond.  so, let us always regard these small trees and the others in this inaugural grove with respect and appreciation as a symbol of continuity.


Author Program at the Library, October 20

October 12, 2011

J. Alexander Sider, author of To See History Doxologically: History and Holiness in John Howard Yoder’s Ecclesiology, will be honored with a program and reception Thursday, October 20, 4:00pm, in the Musselman Library Reading Room. Refreshments and conversation will begin at 3:45pm. Arts and Lecture credit is available.  After the program, there will be a book signing with books available for purchase.

Dr. Sider’s book, published by Eerdmans as part of the Radical Traditions series, examines John Howard Yoder’s eschatology and ecclesiology in conversation with Oliver O’Donovan, Ernst Troeltsch, Miroslav Volf, and others.  For further information about the book, see the publisher website.   

Dr. Sider is assistant professor of religion at Bluffton University. He is general editor (with Chris K. Huebner and Peter Dula) of the Polyglossia: Radical Reformation Theologies series. Also, he is the author of another recently published book, Presence: Giving and Receiving God (Cascade Books, 2011).

Author Program at the Library, February 16

January 31, 2011
Lamar Nisly, author of the recently published book Wingless Chickens, Bayou Catholics and Pilgrim Wayfarers: Constructions of Audience and Tone in O’Connor, Gautreaux and Percy will be honored with a program and reception Wednesday, February 16, 4:00 p.m., in the Musselman Library Reading Room. Arts and Lecture credit is available. Refreshments and conversation will begin at 3:45pm.  There will be a book signing and books available for purchase. 
Dr. Nisly’s book, published in January by Mercer University Press, is about Southern Catholic writers Flannery O’Connor, Tim Gautreaux and Walker Percy. More specifically, it deals with how they address audiences to whom they want to communicate matters of faith. For information about the book, see the publisher’s website:
After earning his Ph.D. from the University of Delaware, Dr. Nisly came to Bluffton in 1996 where he is currently professor of English and chair of the humanities division. He is also the author of the book Impossible to Say: Representing Religious Mystery in Fiction by Malamud, Percy, Ozick, and O’Connor, published in 2002 by Greenwood Press.

Musselman Library sets hours for Christmas break

December 10, 2010

Musselman Library will adjust its hours for the Christmas break as follows:

Exam Week
December 13-17: Regular Hours

Christmas Break
Sat-Sun, December 18-19: Library Closed
December 20-23: Open 8:30am-5:00pm
Dec. 24-Jan. 3: Library Closed

Spring 2011
January 4-7: Open 8:30am-5:00pm
January 8-9: Library Closed
Monday, January 10: Resume Regular Hours

Hours for the library can be found at our website.

Free coffee, tea, and cookies – this week

December 6, 2010

Support your studies with some free hot beverages and snacks this week at Musselman Library! The library’s morning coffee service is free all week, and we’re adding a free evening coffee service with free cookies! Enjoy a snack on us while you’re studying for finals and putting the finishing touches on your papers and projects.

Free morning coffee and hot tea:
8:30am – 11am

Free evening coffee and hot tea AND COOKIES!
7:30pm – 11pm

Monday, December 6 through Thursday, December 9

Coffee @ the Library Begins Monday September 27

September 26, 2010

Starting Monday, September 27, with hours 8:30-11:00am Monday – Friday, coffee and tea will be available in the Nord Room, to the right on entry to the library. To celebrate our opening day, coffee, tea and snacks will be free to all library visitors. Ongoing, the charge will be $1.00/12 oz. cup with special encouragement to bring your own covered mug or container. When you come, there are books to browse in the Nord Room and a welcome to enjoy your coffee in the Reading Room or other areas of the library.

Musselman Library reaches out with social media

September 6, 2010

Have you updated your facebook status today? How many foursquare checkins did you count this week? Could you follow one more twitter user? If so, read on to find out all the ways Musselman Library connects with the world of social media, and see where we can connect with you.

Search for Musselman Library – Bluffton University in facebook, and click Like to have updates, photographs, and event notices delivered to your news feed. We’ve been posting photos of the elevator construction project to our facebook page throughout the summer… so just imagine how much you’ll be able to learn about us during the school year!

Follow @MusselmanLib on twitter to receive instant notices about events of the day at the library, New and Noteworthy shelf additions, and service and resource news. If it’s something you need to know now, we’ll tweet!

Next time you visit the library with your smartphone, check in to our location on foursquare, and try to oust the mayor!

If you’re reading this story, then you’re already connected to ARCH, the blog for Musselman Library. Subscribe to our feed using your favorite news reader, and receive stories of events and other interesting happenings at the library.

Musselman Library is staying connected… to you, our users! Let us know how else we can meet you where you are.

Library CLOSED on Wednesday 7/21

July 20, 2010

Due to work on the library’s elevator construction project, Musselman Library will be closed for the entire day on Wednesday, July 21. The library will reopen at 8:30am on Thursday, July 22.

Thank you for your patience, and we apologize for the short notice on this closing.

Program honoring Dr. Howard Raid in Reading Room May 8

May 7, 2010

A program honoring the life and achievements of Dr. Howard Raid will take place in the Reading Room at 3:30 pm on Saturday, May 8, 2010. The event is the second in a new May Day tradition, which honors the past, present, and future work of academic departments with a program on Saturday afternoon in the library.

For more information, including on all other May Day events, visit the page for this event on the Bluffton University May Day website.


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