Karen Fitzgerald, the book doctor at Bud Werner Memorial Library, makes sure the large selection of books remains in good shape.

Photo by John F. Russell

Karen Fitzgerald, the book doctor at Bud Werner Memorial Library, makes sure the large selection of books remains in good shape.

Steamboat library's book doctor keeps well-worn titles on the shelves

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Turning the page to the digital age

When Bud Werner Memorial Library proposed a 21,000-square-foot, $12.5 million building expansion, some doubted the library's success in light of the advent of digital media. Several years later, library officials say, the proof is in the numbers.

— A drafting table sits in a well-lit corner deep in the guts of Bud Werner Memorial Library’s labyrinth of back rooms. This was the old children’s library before the expansion was built, and now, it’s where the behind-the-scenes magic takes place.

But Karen Fitzgerald’s specialty doesn’t take much magic.

In the case of a worn, red hardcover resting on the table, it just takes some glue, pencils and a brick wrapped in brown paper.

By securing the book’s binding, she ensures it has many more healthy years on the shelf.

Fitzgerald is a book doctor, which in library terms means she works in materials processing. For the books that come through the door naked and new, she fits them with shiny Mylar covers, identifying stickers and call numbers.

For the books that have seen better days, Fitzgerald recovers, repairs and refurbishes them.

Special cases need special attention, and sometimes, books need to be sent away for repairs.

It’s how she knows that the community is still heavily invested in print: “Books keep coming back to me well-worn,” she said.

The anatomy of a book

From John Carter’s 1952 guide “ABC for Book Collectors,” here are a few terms — some familiar, some obscure — for parts of a book you may not have known.

Diaper

The diamond or lozenge pattern on some bindings.

Endpapers

The papers glued to the inside cover of a hardback book. The side of the page that is glued to the cover is a paste-down, and the other side is a free endpaper.

Foxing

The yellowish-brown discolorations you sometimes see on the pages of old books. The pages would be described as “foxed.”

Head-piece

The ornament, or vignette, printed at the beginning of a chapter or to mark a new section of the book.

Leaves

Another name for the pages of a book.

Signatures

Groups of pages (usually 16) sewn together to make a book. This term comes from a notation in the corner of each group of pages that was meant to help the bookbinder put them in the correct order.

Source: Mental Floss

To reach Nicole Inglis, call 970-871-4204 or email ninglis@ExploreSteamboat.com

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