With audio books and the internet, not very many people try to maintain their libraries anymore. There is one
group trying to maintain their libraries and that is preachers. So many good commentaries with sound doctrine
are now out of print and cannot be replaced. I myself have an extensive library of commentaries, Bible helps, and
other books about the Bible. I would say that at least 90% of my books are out of print, especially the ones written
by Puritans. These books have tremendous value to those who use them, yet many of them are so old that the
covers are worn through and the pages are becoming brittle. You can help reduce the brittleness of the book
pages by taking a steam iron and ironing the pages of your books. The moisture of the steam will help relax the
pages and make them more flexible.
Bookbinding is the only source of maintaining your library. Since bookbinders are few and far between, most
folks who have libraries try to maintain their books themselves, but they really don’t know how. They resort to
using a mountain of scotch tape, duct tape, hot glue, etc. to keep their books together. Of course, this only damages
the book more and accelerates its destruction. Most librarians will tell you that a hand bound book is better made
than the original. That is because better materials are used to rebind your books. A lot of older books have cloth
bound covers and have worn through in various places. Cloth bound covers are also subject to mold and mildew
leaving you with no way to remove it. Also, many books are paperbacks and are torn in several places. These
can be made into hardback books so they will last longer. We use a canvas based material that is vinyl coated
and will last for many, many years. In fact, it is what we use to repair books for public, school and church libraries.
The canvas base of the material will last a long, long time.
Another problem you will find in maintaining a library is the original binding method. The older books have
pages that have been sewn together which extends their lifespan tremendously. The newer books, if you have
any, have pages that are just glued together on the paper’s edge. These books have a short lifespan because the
glue used to hold them is an inferior glue that will not and cannot hold. If the book is subjected to very much use,
the pages will begin to come out, often in chunks. Rebinding those books will extend the lifespan of the book,
but even though our glue is 100 times better than the original glue, it will not hold up for an extended period of
time. It just stands to reason that if you take a thick stack of typing paper, the same thickness of your book, glue
only the tip of the paper edges together and try to use it by bending the pages back and forth, it will not hold.
There is no glue available that will hold those sheets together. Try it and you will see what I mean. The only
way the book will hold up would be to glue each side of a page to the pages it is between. If you do that and then
when finished, glue the edge tips of the pages together to make the spine, then it will hold. Unfortunately, there
is no way to do this economically.
David Sharp