Sunday, July 8, 2012

A Freethought Library How-To

Greetings, all! Today I'm speaking at the Secular Student Alliance 2012 Annual Conference about ISSA's Freethought Library project. I'm hoping everyone reading this is here with me right now (because, frankly, this weekend's been a blast), but I think this information will be useful whether you catch my talk or not.

One thing that sets the Freethought Library apart from other student group lending libraries is the level of professionalism we've managed to achieve, including the use of book cards/pockets and mylar covers on all hardcover books. This is really incidental; I worked for a library resource company for quite a while and received extensive training on preparing and protecting books against damage/wear. But, despite that experience, I have to tell you guys that you are almost certainly capable of doing the exact same thing. To that end, I've prepared a short how-to for anyone wanting to add mylar covers to their books. I hope to be able to post even more information in the future.

We purchased all of ISSA's library materials from Demco Library Supplies. We use the High Back No Date Grid Book Pockets (product number WS12155250), the Standard Form School Library Borrower's Cards (WS13824800) and, for the procedure below, the Superfold 12x24" Mylar Covers (WG12211240) and 1/2 Inch Film-Fiber Tape (WS16202320). The total cost of the latter two (for 72 yards of tape and 25 mylar covers) is about $25.00 before shipping.

To apply the mylar covers, you will need 1) your hardcover book and its dust-jacket, 2) a mylar cover that is both taller and wider than the dust-jacket when laid flat, 3) a roll of film fiber tape, 4) scissors and 5) a swingblade paper cutter or something else that will allow you to cut a perfectly straight line.

Unfold the mylar cover and slip the dust-jacket in so that the printed side is facing the plastic of the cover and the blank side is facing the paper part. Center it and make sure that the bottom of the dust-jacket meets the crease at the bottom of the cover.

Close the cover over the dust-jacket (making sure to keep it as flat as possible) and fold the paper portion over onto itself so that the upper edge of it is just slightly shorter than the jacket -- I usually aim for somewhere between a centimeter and an inch. 

Carefully fold the mylar over the dustjacket and towards the paper so that the crease in the mylar is flush with the top of the jacket and run your fingers over the crease a few times to smooth things out. Cut three short pieces of tape and secure the plastic part of the cover to the paper at the point where the plastic ends. You will want to place tape strategically: One piece in the center, and one near each edge of the jacket to maintain the alignment of the cover.

Once the crease is established, slide the dust-jacket towards one end of the cover so that about an inch of it is peeking out. Carefully cut the other end just a millimeter or two past where the other side of the dust-jacket ends so as not to cut the jacket itself.

Center the dust-jacket within the cover once more. You should have about a centimeter of jacket peeking out on either side. Put the jacket-cover combo back on the book the way it was previously.

Cut four pieces of fiber tape (3-4 inches each).

Secure the inner folds of the dustjacket to the book by placing the pieces of tape, one by one, roughly in the middle of each fold and then, keeping the jacket snug, slipping the other end of the tape behind the jacket so that it makes contact with the book itself. Do this four times -- once for each flap, top and bottom. It's worth noting that, once the tape is placed, attempts to move it will likely damage both the cover and the book itself, so it's important that the second piece of tape is carefully, strategically placed so that it pulls the flap snugly against the book

The other end of each piece tape should look like this!

I hope that helps! Please email if you have any additional questions or wish to show us your finished product -- we'd love to see your lending library projects unfold!

You guys are awesome.


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