Constructing Preservation Enclosures: Double Tray Book Boxes

Constructed in the clamshell style, book boxes built like those described below completely enclose the volumes housed inside of them, providing support and protection to items with fragile or damaged bindings or covers. Custom cut individually to fit each specific item, these enclosures consists of three basic parts: a lower tray, an upper tray, and an outer case and are made of the same (acid free pH neutral) materials as bookbindings themselves. The example shown was made with archival quality binder’s board, polyvinyl acetate (PVA) adhesive, endsheet paper, and buckram following specifications laid out by the Library of Congress.

Boxes for the Protection of Books: A revised & updated version of the previous 1981 volume, Boxes for the Protection of Rare Books: Their Design and Construction by Lage Carlson, Margaret R. Brown, Library of Congress Preservation Directorate.

(Unfamiliar words?  http://cool.conservation-us.org/don/ Many conservation and preservation terms are defined here.)

Completed clamshell book box

Clamshell enclosures can be constructed as follows:

  1. MEASURE THE BOOK
  2. FILL OUT WORKSHEETS
    1. BOARDS
    2. COVERING MATERIALS
    3. LINING MATERIALS
  3. CUT MATERIALS
    1. BOARDS FOR TRAYS AND CASE
    2. COVERING MATERIALS
    3. LINING MATERIALS
  4. ASSEMBLE THE BOX
    1. BUILD TRAYS
    2. COVER TRAYS
    3. COVER CASE
    4. ATTACH TRAYS TO CASE
    5. ATTACH SPINE LINING
    6. ATTACH TRAY LINING

To properly protect the book, it must be snugly fit into its clamshell. To do so, the creator must measure with precision, taking into account the thickness of the boards, cloth, and lining paper.

Library of Congress worksheets

Once all of the boards have been cut to size, the case boards will be put together much like a typical book binding to wrap around the whole thing, and trays will be assembled with butt joints using PVA. One tray should fit into the other with a bit of wiggle room to accommodate the coverings yet to be applied. The book to be housed should fit into the smaller tray with a lesser amount of open space.

Measurements:

Length = head-to-tail                                                     Board = wall, base, and case; single or double thickness

Width = spine-to-fore edge                                        Covering = cloth, buckram, etc

Height = spine thickness                                                               Lining = end sheet, Japanese tissue, etc

A = 2 thicknesses of board + 8 thicknesses of covering material

B = 1 thickness of board + 4 thicknesses of covering material

C = 2 thicknesses of lining material + 4 thicknesses of covering material

D = 2 thicknesses of board + 8 thicknesses of covering material

E = 1 thickness of board + 4 thicknesses of covering material

F = 1 thickness of board + 4 thicknesses of covering material

G = 1/16 of an inch for a fore edge lip

H = 1 thickness of board

Making the trays:

Clamshell trays constructed of binder’s board using butt joints and PVA adhesive.

Covering the trays:

Covering the tray, interior view.

Covering the tray, exterior view.

Covering the tray, completed exterior.

Once you’ve constructed and covered your trays, take a moment to ensure that the book fits into the smaller tray and that the smaller tray fits into the larger tray, then move on to the case.

Making the case:

clamshell-case.jpg

Case and spine boards, ready to assemble.

Covering the case:

clamshell-case-covered.jpg

Clamshell case, covered.

Assembling the clamshell at this point is a matter of attaching the trays to the case and lining the trays and spine. Once completed, you’ll have an enclosure that will support fragile bindings and protect delicate covers.

Side view, completed clamshell.

For more information, webinars and events related to Preservation Week, go to ala.org/alcts/preservationweek.

Not Just Another Library Preservation Video!

As you know, this week is National Library Week, and George Mason University Libraries and Special Collections & Archives has teamed up to create a video to educate library users on the proper care of library materials. This latest installment in what has become a a cottage industry among hip university library systems, features an appearance by the Mason Men’s  Basketball Coach, Jim Larranaga, an original soundtrack, a library patron enjoying a meal of pizza and spaghetti in the reading room, and Jackie the Librarian. The latter has the ability t0 sniff out food-borne dangers to books, transport herself to any part of the library, and show all transgressors the proper way to treat library materials.

poster_04_centered2The University Libraries observe Preservation Awareness Day on Wednesday, April 15, and the film, The FUNdamentals of Book Care in 5 Easy Lessons, is framed in a lighthearted and whimsical manner, the film derails traditional library stereotypes and reinforces how fun a library can be.

Written, directed, and produced by Leah Donnelly, Coordinator of the George Mason Oral History Program; Veronica Fletcher, University Records Manager; and Adam Fielding, SC&A‘s Research Services Coordinator;  the video features a soundtrack by Washington, DC guitarist Rodney Richardson. The cast includes George Mason University librarians and student employees. To view the video, visit SC&A’s YouTube Channel at:

http://www.youtube.com/user/GMUArchives

Prolonging our Treasures through Preservation, an exhibit on the second, floor, A wing of Fenwick Library follows “a day in the life of a book,” outlines best practices for taking care of and preserving books, describes methods of book repair, and shows other non-book items the library collects and cares for, such as posters, photographs, floppy discs, digital items, etc.  The exhibit is on display through the end of May.