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Treasure 60: Library bindery

Historic Documents
Léa Moreau
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Historic Documents Details
This month we pay tribute to a number of craftsmen whose daily work was seen as essential to the maintenance of the book stock in the library service. These were the library bookbinders who, with their assistants, ensured that the library books were in as good condition as possible.

The Library Bindery was based in the basement of the Central Library and bookbinders would spend their working day there rebinding and repairing damaged books, in addition to numbering and labelling new stock.

This photo dates from around 1950, and shows bookbinder Joseph T. Duncan and his assistant Ruth Chalmers in the bindery. He is applying gold lettering to the spine of a volume using the tools laid out on the rack beside him.

Find out more about Mr Duncan and the library service's bookbinders over the years in our interactive exhibition on touchscreens.
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