On the Defensive

Lately I've started collecting the books I'll need for Lucy's Y1 of ambleside online in addition to the ones I'll use this fall. I'm still undecided as to whether we'll start Y1 in January or next year. I have a lot of good reasons for starting in January but I think only time will tell if they will trump my reason for waiting - to let her be little and "just" play.

But buying all those really lovely books made me realize I really needed to start protecting our books better. So I did a bit of research and just yesterday started my new project - book protection!

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It was actually quite overwhelming, there are so many options. I'm not an expert at all so if any librarians are out reading this, don't judge me but I figured I would share what I did. I started with the hardcover books with jackets. There are a ton of different ones out there but I went with these from Brodart. I ordered 10in high ones for our chapter books and 14 in ones for our picture books and that worked well but its not a big deal if they are too large so keep that in mind if you plan to order some.

They seemed to be a middle of the road type which is just what I wanted. I didn't need fancy archival quality ones but I did want the sturdiness I thought the paper backing would add so I didn't choose the economy style. A package of 25 is between $8-$10 depending on the size which I think is a great deal. And they are so easy to use as this video shows. The only even sorta tricky part was adhering them to the book. These particular ones don't come with any adhesive for that (the one-tab it talks about is used to close the cover on itself which is helpful but a different thing). I looked at several hardback books I had checked out from the library and decided to use a small piece of this tape since it seemed the easiest to implement.

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The video doesn't explain this but I closed the book and made sure my spine was aligned nicely, then inserted a small piece of the tape between the outside book jacket/cover and the book itself with the sticky part on the book. Then keeping the book as closed as possible, just wrap it over the top and onto the inside book jacket/cover. This does mean a small piece of tape (maybe 1/4-1/2 inch) is touching the book. None of my book are first editions so I don't mind this although I do think it would come off fairly easy if I needed it to and knowing that kids will be handling these, tape will be necessary. Repeat for the top and bottom of the front and back and you're done!

One down, three (thousand!) to go :-)

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I really love them! They just make the books seem so much sturdier and when I finally decide on a labeling plan for our school books, I won't have to worry if I change my mind.

I will confess though that I used to be a book jacket hater, at least when it came to kid's books. Without the nice covers, they would always fall off or get ripped, so I normally just threw them away. I actually only kept those winnie-the-pooh ones because they were so cute I'd though about framing them somehow as a wall decoration. But now that I know how easy it is to cover a book jacket, I'm kicking myself!

But no use crying over lost book jackets. I do want to come up with an inexpensive way to protect my hardcover books without jackets though so if you have any ideas, please share. I know you can do it with clear film roll but unlike the book jacket covers which can be purchased in reasonable amount of 25 per size, film roll only seems to be available in library sized quantities and I don't need that much.

For our paperbacks, I ordered this 4ml laminating vinyl and used this technique. I'm not really a fan of the double center slit because its not just the peel-back liner, the vinyl itself is marked which means there is less flexibility in arranging (you can't place the book at a 90 degree angle if it is large or you'd have a odd line down the middle) but it was on sale and I could buy only 200" so I could try it without a huge commitment so it wasn't a huge deal. Next time, I think I might go with this one. I've already used up the 200" I ordered and I haven't even finished half of our really good picture books so I know I will be able to use up a larger roll fairly easily! I know many people use clear contact paper but I like that this is thicker and I really liked that it was fairly easy to re-position if I had a big crease which I think would be much more difficult with contact paper.

I also bought a roll of book tape for the inevitable repairs that occur when Jonah sits and looks at books. He tries so hard to be gentle but its just not really in his nature. It doesn't help that by the time they get to him, they've already been read many times. But nothing a little sturdy tape can't fix.

Two days later and there we are - her kindergarten shelf! Not everything but a good portion of it. Ready or not...


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