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05 December 2007

Book repair workshop

Part of this year's October Family History Month line-up was a Book Repair Workshop held Tuesday afternoon, October 16, 2007. Bill O'Neil, the chair of the CGS Book Repair Committee, passed along some of his expertise to several apprentices who paid $15 each to learn from our resident expert.


Bill is a retired high school art teacher who has loved books since he worked in a library as a kid. He became interested in book making and took a class in the mid-1990s to learn the skill. At about the same time he read that the CGS Book Repair Committee was looking for volunteers and knew it was a perfect fit.

When Bill joined the book-repairers they were being led by Richard G. Thrift, who created the committee in 1987. Bill has fond memories of Dick Thrift, who had been made an Honorary Life Member of CGS before his death in 2002. Bill has been leading the group ever since.

The Book Repair Committee, which meets the second Tuesday of every month, has become indispensable to the maintenance of the library collection. The committee recently celebrated the repair of its 2,000th book which represents about 100 books repaired every year. The committee also lends a financial support, since they estimate that the average repair would cost the society about $60, if it was done professionally.

The workshop participants learned the techniques used in repairing books by actually creating a book for themselves. Bill provided the pages (a copy of the "how to" pamphlet authored by Dick Thrift) and the pupils created the binding. Bill reports that the group proved to be highly skilled which made for a very successful workshop. And everyone went home with a self-made instruction book and souvenir of the day.

Photographs courtesy of Jane Knowles Lindsey.

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