Oak Street Stabilization

The Oak Street Library Facility houses low-use library materials in high-density shelving. The Conservation Unit assists in the preparations of materials for transfer to this facility by performing simple repairs on items that can be repaired quickly, or stabilization on items that require more extensive repair. For those items that are stabilized, full repairs will be undertaken only if the item circulates after it has been transferred to the Oak Street Facility.
Candidates for stabilization include books with…

  • loose, detached, or missing covers
  • loose or detached pages
  • crumbling or fracturing paper
  • leather bindings that are powdery (this is known as “red rot”, though it is actually more brown)
  • soft cover bindings that offer little to no structural support
  • volumes that create shelving problems such as odd size or warped covers

Types of Stabilization and Repair

Hard Bound Books:

  1. If the cover is no longer providing adequate protection for the book (i.e. it is broken away from the text block) but the paper is in good condition the item will receive a string tie
  2. If the cover is in good condition and the text block is no longer intact, pages will be tipped in if less than 5 pages are out, or string tied if more than 5 pages are detached or otherwise cannot be tipped in (unless exceedingly brittle, then see “Additional Steps for Brittle Materials”, below)
  3. If there are loose items with the book that were not originally bound in, but are relevant to the publication we will make a pocket to hold them
  4. If there are tears through text on a page(s) or there are tears that threaten the loss of information, we will mend the tears with Filmoplast P (or Filmoplast P1 for very brown papers)
  5. If the cover is missing one or both boards, but the paper is in good condition, we will string tie with replacement covers made of binders board
  6. If the cover is no longer providing adequate protection for the book, or is missing AND the paper is brittle, we will construct a phase box (if over 1 inch thick) or place the item in an envelope (if less than 1 inch thick).
  7. If the paper is exceedingly brittle, regardless of the condition of the cover, we will string tie, phase box or envelope the item depending on thickness and condition of cover
  8. If the leather is exhibiting signs of degradation (red rot), the book is fitted with a custom CoLibri polypropylene book jacket for added protection and to contain leather dust. If the cover is loose or detached but the paper is in good condition, we string tie the book after fitting with a CoLibri jacket.
  9. If the cover is suffering from severe red rot and/or the text block or boards are severely damaged, we will wrap the item with buffered paper and string tie it. Rare books (RBOS) are always wrapped with buffered paper and string tied.
  10. If the item is pamphlet bound in an old, acidic pamphlet binder we will remove the item from the binder and place it in an archival quality envelope.

Soft-Cover Books:

  1. If the item is less than 3/8 of an inch thick, it will be placed in an envelope for added protection
  2. If item is in multiple pieces, we will envelope , string tie , or string tie the item with board supports , depending on thickness and stability of cover.
  3. If the item is thicker than 3/8 but cannot stand on the shelf unsupported, we will string tie the item with board supports
  4. Whether broken or complete, if the item is exceedingly brittle, it will be placed in an envelope with a board support or phase boxed , depending on thickness

Other potential concerns:

If any of the below are found, they should be closely reviewed by conservation staff before being transferred:

  • Mold
  • Insect damage
  • Water damage, especially when pages are stuck together
  • Unidentifiable stains on the paper or cover

For more information on Oak Street Library Facility preparations, see the Oak Street Transfer Service web page.