The road goes ever on and on…

It’s not official yet, but it’s close enough—I’ve finished graduate school. I have a Master’s of Science. And I’m about to get married and take my first European vacation in over ten years. (I fell in love with Europe on that trip so long ago; I look forward to doing so again.) Oh, and I need to find a job, or so I’m told. It’s an exciting and mad time, for certain.

As wonderful as all of these new adventures are, the goodbyes have made them bittersweet. My impending graduation means that I had to leave my position at Beatley, and I was sad to do so. There were one project that I had been looking forward and had actively prepared for—specifically, running a workshop/demonstration on book repair—that never came to fruition. Another—preparing a set of book-repair guidelines for future students to hold my position, a project that I personally proposed—I completed, but I would have liked to be able to spend more time on. Still, I suppose that 8 solid pages of tips and guidelines (not a how-to guide, mind you) isn’t too shabby. I hope that future student workers find it useful.

I did get to go out with a bang, though. Not long before I left, a particularly challenging tome landed on my desk: Burke’s Landed Gentry. Previous repairs had left it something of a mess. And, of course, it’s a very thick book, which always provides some interesting challenges.

The "before" shots. As you can see, this book was once repaired with tape (this tape is specifically designed for these kinds of repairs). According to a handwritten note in the back of the book, that was probably in 1993. In the time since, the adhesive had dried up.

The “before” shots. As you can see, this book was once repaired with tape (this tape is specifically designed for these kinds of repairs). According to a handwritten note in the back of the book, that was probably in 1993. In the time since, the adhesive had dried up.

I did rather enjoy looking at the plates for a few minutes. I was especially fond of the coat of arms at the bottom left.

I did rather enjoy looking at the plates for a few minutes. I was especially fond of the coat of arms at the bottom left.

Here I've removed the previous repair and have lined the spine with cambric and paper. I only had a 3 inch roll of cambric to work with, so I had to overlap the strips in order to cover the entire spine. The book is so thick, though, that the extra support would be beneficial. Here you can also see the leftover adhesive on the original spine cover.

Here I’ve removed the previous repair and have lined the spine with cambric and paper. I only had a 3 inch roll of cambric to work with, so I had to overlap the strips in order to cover the entire spine. The book is so thick, though, that the extra support would be beneficial. Here you can also see the leftover adhesive on the original spine cover.

The book is now ready to be rebacked. This was especially challenging to manage, given its size, but using the press helped.

The book is now ready to be rebacked. This was especially challenging to manage, given its size, but using the press helped.

The "after" shot. I've finished the rebacking and have cleaned up the worn edges of the boards with a bit of PVA, to help slow the wear and tear on this poor book. Not a perfect job, but a fun last challenge at Beatley.

The “after” shot. I’ve finished the rebacking and have cleaned up the worn edges of the boards with a bit of PVA, to help slow the wear and tear on this poor book. Not a perfect job, but a fun last challenge at Beatley.

The one thing I do regret about this repair is that I was unable to remove the leftover adhesive from the original spine. The final result would have been much nicer, if I had. But, after attempting to remove it manually and with a bit of moisture (on a portion that was cut away), I decided that anything I tried might well do more harm than good. So it goes.

Then, of course, there’s saying goodbye to school itself. I’ve been a ball of stress for the past two years, constantly being pulled in different directions, never feeling quite at ease. My upcoming vacation is definitely much needed. But as thrilled as I am to have completed my program (and believe me, I am thrilled), and to have done so well, I still exit with a hint of regret that it really is over. And, although I’m sure this will fade, it feels extremely odd to refer to myself as a preservation librarian. That’s what I am now, after all. That’s what I have been trained to do. But without actually holding that position, even with the work experience I’ve had over the past year, I feel like a bit of an impostor. Impostor Syndrome gets talked about a lot in graduate-school communities, usually centering around PhDs. I never felt that as a student, but I sense at least a hint of it now . . . .

No matter. There are new goals ahead. In the spirit of my once-home state, and of Longfellow—excelsior!

Comments

  • Congratulations on finishing! And congratulations again on your wedding. My love and best wishes are with you and Mike. ^_^

    LaurenAugust 18, 2012

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