Monday, 27 May 2013

CILIP Ebooks 2013

On Thursday I attended the second CILIP Ebook Briefing. I came away with mixed feelings about the event, there was a bit too much of stating the bloody obvious, but generally it was a good day. 

As I'm in the middle of a spate of events I realised I will struggle to blog about the day for a while so I thought I'd at least Storify my many, many tweets and find the links to the videos and presentations for the day. So here you go. 

Ebooks 2013 on Storify

39 Steps from The Story Mechanics

M25 Consortium PDA Video

Presentation list on the CILIP website

Hopefully more to follow at a later date!

Saturday, 18 May 2013

Spring Reflections

Since moving to Bath my blog has taken a decidedly non-professional turn. There are a few reasons for this, not least because I am still getting to grips with a new job and city. 

My job itself is still developing and I am still learning about the university and my team. I often joke to people that my job is the bins and bogs of the library but that really does it a disservice. Yes, it is very much focused on front line and customer services and yes I have spent quite a bit of timing discussing various aspects of toilets over the last few weeks. But I'm also involved in an exciting development of a learning commons space in our new build and I'm introducing a chat service that will be used across the service. I'm also pleased that my previous experience working with LMS's and websites is being used, even if Symphony is proving a vastly frustrating experience! Most of all I smile everyday when I turn into the (1/2 mile) drive up to the campus and while our listed buildings may offer me some logistical problems it means I get to work in a beautiful place. 

Work aside my Chartership progress stalled earlier this year after I lost contact with my mentor. Luckily Twitter came to the rescue and I'm hoping to have feedback on my completed portfolio in the next month or so. Once it has been submitted I'm going to complete the new CILIP PKSB and attempt to use it to move forward with a view to revalidation and volunteering as a Chartership Mentor. I enjoyed the chartership process so much I want to make sure I continue to be proactive in my CPD and continue to learn and develop. 

However just because I've not been blogging about it doesn't mean I've not been active. This week I made the trip to London (thanks to sponsored travel from ARLG SW) for the first ARLG members day at Regents University. The day, aptly enough after the recent merge of groups, was focused on partnerships and it was interesting to hear from a variety of organisations including Goldsmiths, Dundee College and The Hive. I'm going to do a full report for the ARLG SW newsletter but I did leave with one overwhelming thought which didn't sit entirely comfortably. With the exception of The Hive, where two partners work on a equal footing, many of the stories I heard were less about partnership and more about what the library can do for their wider organisations. What were presented as partnerships was more the library adapting to changing needs and marketing their strengths and benefits. This isn't to criticise, it was obvious that this is needed, that we need to change, to offer services that fall out of our traditional remit and to talk to  people outside of our normal library bubble. But a partnership should be two way, each party should bring something to the table and leave with their own benefits, having contributed to others. It is this aspect that I didn't see so much of and which I worry is all to often a common story on libraries. 

I'm also peripherally involved in the organisation of the next SW Library Camp and in addition will be attending a number of mentoring / coaching type training events in June with a view to becoming a CILIP mentor once I have completed Chartership. I have discovered that I love this aspect of management and development which means I was especially proud to see one of my former team appear in the last edition of Update writing about her experiences using Twitter. (May 2013, Article by Emma Suffield) I'm also attending Interlend 2013 thanks to a sponsored place, an event at which I will have a lot to learn being a relative novice when it comes to inter library loans and document supply. 

Most exciting for myself I'm attending the CILIP Ebook briefing next week, an event I regretted missing last time and which, for the first time, I will be entirely self funding. I just hope it proves to be worth the money although as I'm also combining it with a very exciting interview on Friday the trip will at least have a dual purpose. 

I will finish by saying that I could have been more proactive about writing up my experiences over the last few months and so I'm going to commit to using my Learning Logs on a more regular basis. The entire last two months has been one big learning journey and one I should have recorded better. Lessons learnt and all of that!

Bookbinding - Practice Makes Perfect

So last week I completed my first rounded spine book, not with total success. This week I was going to have another go 

I hadn’t completed any other books over the weekend because I’d spent most of Sunday playing with my rubber stamps and ink. This had left me with a number of printed papers which I was hoping to use as end papers.

 Unfortunately I learnt a valuable lesson when it comes to these prints. One they take a very long time to dry. Days, if not weeks, for the thicker ones. Secondly, if they are not completely dry then they will smudge and mark, especially when dampened through the process of gluing in the end papers. Therefore after using these prints I have found that they have smudged slightly due to the pressure of the the nipping process and the friction caused through opening and closing the book. However the printing I had done on the front of last weeks books seems to have dried OK and doesn't smudge so I am more confident about using these prints to cover books. I might also try having photocopies made of the originals in order to get round the problem of smudging. 

However the first process with this weeks book was to trim and round the spine of the block I was currently working on. With a better understanding of the process I took much more care measuring out my guidelines for the rounding. I had also French bound the block in order to make it looser, and therefore easier to round. 

I made the decision, because I wanted to protect the end papers, to leave attaching these until after the block had been rounded and although the end result was still not perfect I think this helped protect the prints to some extent. It made no difference to the finished book which apart from the smudged end covers has a much more symmetrical rounding and overall a much nicer finish when compared to last weeks book. 

I have found that I have struggled with cutting the buckram at the corners of the boards - especially in regards to leaving the right amount of cloth to sufficiently cover the boards. I seem to leave to little or too much and can’t get the balance right. This week I trimmed too much on one side so that the grey boards just show through. However it doesn’t show to much on the closed book and the overall it looks good. Certainly the spine is much more symmetrical. 

Next week we are going to make slip cases for these books and then we are going to finish off the course by making some leather books using a non traditional binding technique. 

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Bookbinding - Week 4 and a Few Experiments.

Week 3 and it was time to try and salvage my rounded spine notebook. Last week I’d sort of achieved the rounded spine and applied the scrim and paper strip to hold the shape and support it. This week we were going to apply the cover. 

The process is slightly different than for a square spine book. First you don’t need the spine strip, just two boards for the covers. Make sure you have a square edge on these and then fit them into the lip you have created. Mark out the covers making them 3-4 mm bigger than your block. Ensure your cover corners are square (the block may no longer be ‘true’) and repeat for the other cover. (Your covers may not necessarily be identical, depending on how symmetrical your spine is so make sure you know which is the front and back.)

Next cut a piece of stiff paper the same width as the circumference of your spine and the same height of your covers. This will support the spine as it is not glued to the block. Use a scrap piece of paper to mark the necessary gap for your spine (in the same way as you did for the square book but measuring between the top of each’ ‘lip’) Lay out your boards on your bookcloth and cut out an appropriate section, leaving at least 3cm overlap. Glue the entire cloth. Then fit the boards into the block ensuring they fit snugly into the lips created for for them. Carefully place onto the glued cloth and then holding boards in place fold the cloth over the top. Unfold and remove the block. Lay your support strip in place and then fold in the excess edges as for a regular book, ensuring you ‘tuck’ your corners in. (A technique I am yet to master!) Then, as for a regular book paste up your end papers and attach to the cover, ensuring the cloth fits snugly round the spine. Give a final press in the nipping press and you are done. 

Unfortunately the finished book fell victim to the printing studio and the lovely bright cover ended up marked with ink. This gave me the perfect opportunity to get out my rubber stamps and experiment with my new printing ink. I’m quite please the result - even if I am still waiting for it to dry. The major issue with it is that the spine really isn’t that round, which is why I’m going to have another attempt. Apparently the secret is to ensure your sewing isn’t too tight so I’m going to be careful with my next block.  

I also sewed some blocks over the week, the nicest being this multi-coloured one. I’m yet to decide how to finish it although I’m thinking music for the end papers.

I’d also bought a cheap vintage Penguin from Oxfam and wanted to do something with it. Because I couldn’t trim the edges of a block over the weekend I tried using a rustic torn effect. I didn’t like this in the finished product and ended up removing the block - I plan to replace it with a vertical notepad type arrangement at some point because I do like the cover.

The cover is created slightly differently to a regular book. The Penguin cover is too thick to fold around boards successfully and trying to do so would have made the final cover too small. So the cover is trimmed flush with the edge of boards and stuck down firmly. The spine is created using a strip of buckram laid flush with the paper cover. It helped that I was using cream mount board which makes the finish cleaner - grey board would have been to visible at the edges. 

The block is then attached using the end papers as normal. I’m not sure how sturdy this will be long term and if you don’t mind the shiny finish some sticky back plastic would probably provide a protective finish. (Don’t worry, I have a Blue Peter badge so I’m qualified to use sticky back plastic unsupervised!)

I’d also picked up a Ladybird Easy-Reading book called The Story of Football. These books are interesting because they have lovely colourful covers with thick boards that adapt well into a notebook. I removed the original pages, used the title page and one of the illustrations to create the end papers and finished the spine area with a strip of buckram. 

The block itself is sewn as normal and then an end paper is added to the top only. I glued an illustration to the top end paper and then glued this to the second half  to create a slightly thicker ‘cover’. The spine was covered and strengthened with a strip of buckram and then the whole thing is glued vertically onto the inside of the covers. 
The technique needs perfecting. For example, I should have attached the end papers onto the buckram spine strip first and folded the edges over before attaching to the book covers.  The ‘cover’ of the paper block could also have been finished better  as I had to improvise to cover the scrim and ribbons. However the end result is fun, if possibly not very practical. 

Saturday, 4 May 2013

Book Binding Week 3 - Hammer Time!

Last week we had finished our first books - in my case a cloth bound A4 book, very similar to an artist's sketchpad. This week were going to repeat the process again in order to embed the skills, but this time with a twist. We were going to make rounded spine books, a process which gives the spine edge a convex curve and the opposite, loose page side, a concave finish. 

Rounded spine books work best when the book is thicker, in fact mainy antique books will have a rounded spice. To this end we needed to sew more paper to make our blocks, in my case 7 blocks of 4 pages, using fairly thick paper. 

One trick I learnt at this point was that you could take a piece of A3, fold it twice to form a A5 block and then sew it as normal. The folded edges don’t matter because they will be trimmed off later in the process. 

Once the blocks were sewn and trimmed on the lay you need to glue the spine as before but this time without the scrim. Before the glue is totally dry you then need to attack your book with a hammer, literally. 

Holding the open side hit the spine on the top edge repeatedly up and down it’s length. You are aiming to force the spine into a curve shape. Once your curve has started to form use your fingers to maintain the shape on the open end, flip over and continue hitting the spine on the other side. Repeat this process until you have built up a decent curve. You will find this more difficult if, as was the case with mine, your sewing has pulled the spine too tight and it is uneven. Therefore while I had a decent ‘concave’ side, my spine curve was fairly poor. 

Once you are happy with your curve place the book in the ‘book backers’ These are two wooden boards with brass top edges, similar but smoother to the metal strips used to hold down carpet in doorways, that are clamped in a press.  The idea is that the book is placed  between them so the spine stands a couple of mm clear. You then attack it with your hammer again, aiming to create a mushroom shape with two lips that your book covers will sit into, create a smooth round finish at the spine. 

The final verdict on mine was ‘more practice needed’ but I at last ended up with two, fairly equal lips that my covers would sit against. However I was so engrossed with this, and my other books that I forgot to take any pictures and the end of the session came round very quickly. 

One of the reasons why I was so busy was because I was also trying to fit in trimming a couple of finished blocks I had sewn over the weekend. Trimming with the proper tools gives you a really professional finish and not one easily achieved by hand, so while I can improvise for other functions, for example using a charity shop flower press to clamp the blocks, the trimming is something I have to do at the college. 

The blocks were sewn for practice and I forgot the ribbon on one. Even though it is very small (the green A6) I learnt a lesson that the ribbon makes a big difference to the stability of the book and its absence can be seen in the finish product. 

Once trimmed I was able to take these blocks home and finish them off. On both I experimented on the end papers, One, in which I recycled a 1950s map, worked really well, the exisiting folds on the map fitted nicely with the A5 size notebook and thickness of the old style ‘linen’ paper provided a good base for the glue. This one I finished with some black buckram and the end product, while not perfect looks pretty smart. 

The second one, in which I was using a photocopy of a montage of images from a 1960s football association rule book, didn’t work quite as well. The paper, which was very smooth didn’t glue well and was probably too thin. This was also the book without the ribbons and as a consequence the whole thing didn’t seem very secure. I did like the little ‘pocket’ I put at the back although again the paper is too thin for it to stand much wear and tear. As I knew by this point that I wouldn’t be able to do anything with this book I covered it in a green buckram (I have several colours of ‘offcuts’ I got off ebay) that I was least keen on. 

Later in the week I had another practice and learnt an important lesson about using lined paper. If the finished product is to look good you have to make sure the lines are absolutely horizontal and lie straight with your end papers. This is really difficult if you are trimming the book. I made two different books from some lined paper and neither are perfect. The pink I finished with some flock wallpaper and the smaller one I used some leaves pressed under tissue for the end papers. The pink one has a simple pocket at the back - mainly to hide a tear in the end paper. The leaves had been found in the flower press I mentioned previously and  I quite liked the serendipity of using them in a book.