To bind or not to bind?

We’ve decided to review the book binding policy at our library.  Should we be setting aside a larger or smaller budget for the bindery?  Is it cheaper to just replace books, rather than send them out of the system for binding?  After monitoring the process for some time, we’ve noticed the turn around time is quite long, and while these books are at the bindery, they aren’t filling patron requests. 

Now, we don’t send books that have holds to the bindery.  But when they are already gone, patrons do request these books.  We could request them back from the bindery, but they are shipped out to Ontario for this service.  We’re in Nova Scotia.  The entire bindery process, from shipping to bindery and back can take weeks.  In the meantime, patrons are waiting.

I’d like to know your thoughts on using the bindery.  Specifically:
1. Has your budget increased or decreased in this area?
2. Have you found it cheaper to buy additional copies or replacement copies in the long run?
3. What type of criteria do you have for sending items to the bindery?
4. Do books that have been bound by the bindery really last longer?

Any other thoughts you have on the subject would be greatly appreciated!



Filed under In the Cataloguing Department

3 responses to “To bind or not to bind?

  1. Lynn

    At Regina Public (in Saskatchewan), our budget has stayed fairly stable for bindery services. However, RPL has not traditionally bound much – we usually replace items.

    The only time we typically bind items is if they are from our local and rare books collection and we cannot replace them in any other way. The occasional reference work has merited binding in the past – but none have recently. Hope this helps.

  2. Laurel Tarulli

    Hi Lynn,
    Thanks! Your reply is very helpful.

    In addition to the items you’ve indicated that merit binding, we have traditionally included craft books, or other items we assume will be used heavily. I’m wondering if it would be simpler and more cost effective to replace such items.

    I’m definitely going to consider your bindery practices in our own policy.

  3. Lynn

    Laurel, I asked my colleagues here at RPL if they ever bound craft books or other heavy use items and the answer was “no”. They tell me that it has always been faster for the library to purchase replacements and the cost is typically equivalent. We will even use used book dealers now as we find their quality to be quite good.

    I should also note that we will bind one or two periodicals that we have long runs of – such as National Geographic or Life. Good luck making your decision.

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