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Book (Conservation) Lovers Day

Book Lovers Day is recognized on August 9th every year as an unofficial celebration to encourage reading and literature. But for a bookbinding professional, there's more to love about books than what is on the page. We asked the NEDCC Book Conservation lab to share what brought them to the conservation profession. Here's what they said:

I’ve been an avid reader of books from a very young age, enthralled by all the different stories and facts they contained. These relatively ephemeral vessels can hold so much information about what happened in the past, who people were, and what was important to them. After getting into binding books during college, I started collecting the rest of the pieces of my interest in conservation: a passion for sharing history and stories with others and an understanding of how important preservation is for keeping those stories intact for the future.

Nicoline Meyer, NEDCC Book Conservation Intern

   

My interest in book conservation came about as an organic progression from my years spent studying and performing Early Music. As a performer of Medieval and Renaissance choral music, I was constantly seeking out facsimile manuscripts or, in rare circumstances, the real thing. The first time I turned the pages of a medieval choir book, my eyes welled up. Being in the presence of this centuries-old object, knowing that countless musicians had huddled around it to sing from its pages, connected me to my own music in a new and profound way. I have been so grateful, over the years, to have access to these documents and I knew I wanted to be a part of protecting them and making sure they survived for continued use and study. I pursued a degree in library science at Simmons and now a diploma from The North Bennet Street School. I am so grateful to these institutions and to NEDCC for giving me the opportunity to play a small part in the preservation and conservation of histories told through books.

Abra Mueller, NEDCC Book Conservation Intern

   

Conservation and books have always gone hand-in-hand for me, since my first introduction to books was through volunteering in the Conservation Lab at the New England Historic Genealogical Society.  It’s been through book conservation that I’ve been able to easily combine my interest in the bookbinding craft and my love for interacting with and preserving history.  There are few professions that have such a unique blending of modern science and old-world craft, and it’s that defining trait of having a foot in two traditionally diverse worlds that I’ve always loved so much, and how it attracts individuals with such equally diverse dispositions.

Ned Schultz, NEDCC Book Conservation Technician

   

When I first decided to pursue conservation as a career, I intended to focus on textiles. Practical experience as a volunteer in a library and an intern in a paper conservation lab led me to a workshop at NBSS where I fell in love with the craft of bookbinding. I discovered the tactile and sensory pleasures of working with the materials, enjoying the beautiful patterns and colors of decorative paper; the suppleness and scent of leather; the varied textures of handmade paper.

Audrey Jawando, NEDCC Book Conservator

   

I was never a rapid reader, but I have always been fascinated with the mechanics of books. When I was young, I went to a summer camp that taught basic bookbinding. I learned that bookbinding doesn’t require a lot of reading, or to even know how to read, but it does make me a lover of books.

Kiyoshi Imai, NEDCC Associate Book Conservator

   

I was introduced to both rare books and fine press books as a college student. I became fascinated with the book as both an aesthetic and historical object, as well as with the concept that libraries provide free and unfettered access to a wealth of information – even in the form of very rare and special collections. It’s the concept of “access for all” that inspired me to pursue a career in library science. I chose to focus my studies in preservation management because the core goal of preservation (and conservation) is to provide continuing access to our collections through proper care and maintenance.

Bexx Caswell-Olson, NEDCC Director of Book Conservation