The Dean of the Library, Olivia Madison, will be hosting a donor reception at the end of this month, so Preservation provided her with a few dozen mini books as party favors. Each blank book has a title page which reads: “With Special Thanks from Dean Olivia Madison & Iowa State University Library.”
Each of these quarter-style bindings measures just 2 7/8 inches high x 2 3/8inches wide. The flatback textblocks were hand-sewn using a single-hole link stitch, and then lined with heavy Japanese paper. We delved into our stash of fancy book cloth scraps from Hiromi for the spine pieces, and used machine-made marbled paper to cover the boards.
The Conservation staff collaborated, assembly-line style, to create this batch of nearly 3 dozen mini books: Head of Preservation Hilary Seo, Conservation Technician Mindy Moeller, Preservation Assistant Mindy McCoy, Conservation Volunteer Martha Lincoln, and me.
While it might seem a bit frivolous (and way too much fun) to interrupt normal lab operations for nearly two days to bind mini books, Preservation benefits a great deal from our strong donor relationships. Most of the equipment in our lab, the lab infrastructure itself, and our Lennox Foundation Preservation Internship have all been possible thanks to generous donor funding. So, we’re happy to show our appreciation by creating beautiful and whimsical examples of one of the things we do best. Binding books from scratch is also a useful exercise for our staff — it revs up our creativity, allows us to review basic book mechanics from the inside out, and exercises our fine-motor handskills. Plus, they’re just so cute!