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Make Your Own Book Workshop

Participants created their own books through hands-on instruction from Harvard Library Preservation Services staff.


Attendees listen as Kate Rich, Senior Technician in Collections Care (standing, center) guides them through the book binding process.

Over the course of the afternoon, fine paper and linen thread became books, thanks to the expert guidance of staff from Harvard Library Preservation Services. Attendees across the Harvard community learned how to make a book of their own using traditional methods in this workshop held on January 12, 2016.

 “It’s very therapeutic,” said Neiel Israel, library assistant in Access Services, as she carefully threaded a needle to bind her book together. Even though all in the class were new to book construction, they caught on quickly and left the workshop with unique and colorful mementos.

Those taking the class had the luxury of working with brand-new materials, which is something the staff in Collections Care rarely experience. “We will help with everything from removing a wad of gum to completely rebinding a 19th century book,” said Kate Rich, the Senior Conservation Technician who led the workshop.  

The preservation services team receives all kinds of patron requests for materials in the library’s circulating collections, including those that are time-sensitive, such as a visiting scholar who needs a book that’s falling apart.

Hands-on instruction like this helps “[with outreach]; letting people know about preservation,” said Katherine Gray, a Conservation Technician who assisted the participants. The workshop was in high demand, with an extensive waiting list. The organizers are considering offering additional classes in the future due to the enthusiastic response.

Article written by Harvard Library Communications.

Article published on January 20, 2016.