Bookbinding and The Care of Books
|A Handbook for Amateurs Bookbinders &
Librarians by Douglas Cockerell with Drawings
by Noel Rooke and other Illustrations
Book binding Chapter XXI
|Dust -Books should be taken from the shelves at
least once a year, dusted and aired, and the
bindings rubbed with a preservative. To dust a
book, it should be removed from the shelf, and
without being opened, turned upside down and
flicked with a feather duster. If a book with the
dust on the top is held loosely in the hand, and
dusted right way up, dust may fall between the
leaves. Dusting should be done in warm, dry
weather; and afterwards, the books may be stood
on the table slightly open, to air, with their leaves
loose. Before being returned to the shelves, the
|bindings should be lightly rubbed with some preservative preparation (see chap. XXII). Any
bindings that are broken, or any leaves that are loose should be noted, and the books put on one
side to be sent to the binder. It would be best when the library is large enough to warrant it, to
employ a working bookbinder to do this work; such a man would be useful in many ways. He
could stick on labels, repair bindings, and do many other odd jobs to keep the books in good
repair. A bookbinder could be kept fully employed, binding and repairing the books of a
comparatively small library under the direction of the librarian.
The insects known as bookworms are the larvae of several sorts of beetles, most commonly
perhaps of Antobium domestic- cum and Niptus-hololencus. They are not in any way peculiar to
books and will infest the wood of bookshelves, walls, or floors. A good deal can be done to keep
"worms" away by using such substances as camphor or naphthalene in the bookcase.
Bookworms do not attack modern books very much; probably they dislike the alum put in the
paste and the mill boards made of old tarred rope.
In old books, especially such as come from Italy, it is often found that the ravages of the
bookworms are almost entirely confined to the glue on the backs of the books, and it generally
seems that the glue and paste attract them. Probably if corrosive sublimate were put in the glue
and paste used it would stop their attacks. Alum is said to be a preventive, but I have known
bookworms to eat their way through leather pasted on with paste containing alum, when, in
recovering, the old wooden boards containing bookworms have been utilized in error.
When on shaking the boards of an old book dust flies out, or when little heaps of dust are found
on the shelf on which an old book has been standing, it may be considered likely that there are
bookworms present. I t is easy to kill any that may be hatched, by putting the book in an
air-tight box surrounded with cotton wool soaked in ether; but that will not kill the eggs, and
the treatment must be repeated from time to time at intervals of a few B weeks.
Any book that is found to contain bookworms should be isolated and at once treated. Tins may
be put inside the boards to prevent the" worms" eating into the leaves.
Speaking of bookworms, Jules Cousin says :
"One of the simplest means to be employed (to get rid of bookworms) is to place behind the
books, especially in the place where the insects show their presence most, pieces of linen soaked
with essence of turpentine, camphor, or an infusion of tobacco, and to renew them when the
smell goes off. A little fine pepper might also be scattered on the shelf, the penetrating smell of
which would produce the same effect."
Possibly Keating's Insect Powder would answer as well or better than pepper.
|Chapter XXI Part 4
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