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Preservation training for public libraries in South Africa
The Department of Arts and Culture awarded a Conditional Grant for the development of public libraries in South Africa. As part of this grant the National Library of South Africa (NLSA) was invited to provide training in specialist areas. One such area is the preservation of book collections. Due to limited budgets textbooks and reference works cannot easily be replaced. These books are often the most used items in public libraries. More damage is often caused during disasters due to improper planning and ignorance. Proper care of collections expands the lifetime of books. Preservation training for library staff covers topics ranging from bookbinding, basic book repairs to disaster planning and pest management. More than 600 library workers in all nine provinces have participated in the NLSA preservation training programme.

NLSA Pretoria campus staff members attended an introductory bookbinding workshop held on 21 November 2013 in Pretoria. The next day librarians from the surrounding areas attended a similar workshop held at the Museum Library in Potchefstroom. George Wentzel and Dale Zietsman of the Cape Town NLSA conservation section guided workshop attendees through the various stages of bookbinding with numerous demonstrations. They were taught hand sewing of a book, forwarding, making a cover and gold foiling a cover. By the end of the workshops, participants have completed their own handmade hardcover book. They were issued with certificates of completion. Attendees were thrilled with their first steps in bookbinding and often inquire about the possibility of more advanced courses to broaden their knowledge of bookbinding and preservation.

Douwe Drijfhout



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