Hospital for School Library Books

| Author: Gail C | Post a comment

I visited Te Puke Primary School recently and I was delighted to spot one of Librarian Lesly Van Nijlen’s ’good ideas’. It was a dolls’ house-size hospital for books in need of repair sitting on the end of her issues bench!

The idea of placing the book hospital in the library was to encourage students to take care when handling books as well as to identify books needing some ‘medical’ attention. Lesly tells the students to pop books into the hospital for her to examine later. Lesly checks the in-patients and conducts triage! She diagnoses their ailments and decides appropriate treatment. For those terminal patients Lesly decides on replacement or retirement.

Sometimes book ailments are unexpected. A borrower once returned a book to National Library about how to train a dog. There was an apologetic note inside, saying that obviously the book didn’t work, the teeth marks on the cover were testimony! I also once received a book back from a library and noticed little holes on the inside. It was the first time I had seen borer chomp its way through pages!

There are various strategies for processing new books and repairing titles you consider worth keeping, including outsourcing or doing your own repairs. Guidelines for processing and repairing resources may be included in your School Library Handbook You will need to allocate resource for repair materials in your annual budget

 How to train new staff to process and mend library resources? Useful online video clips include: Raeco’s book covering and repair demonstration clips

To find suppliers of materials, see:

For helpful tips for managing water and other damage, see: 

For the care of archival materials there are introductory guides on the handling and storage of photographs, books, and sound recordings (records, tapes, cds, dvds):

Image: Te Puke Book hospital