Just follow the signs: a right turn, through the library doors, down the stairs, a sharp left, two more lefts, a right, and finally through a doorway. That's how we found our way through the basement bookshelves to the Libraries' Preservation Services workshop, where six students learned how to make small paper books using artfully designed papers, scissors, awl, needle and thread.
Their little books were different sizes, with delightfully colored and patterned paper covers and hand-sewn bindings. One student used linen thread enhanced with beeswax, another used a bright green embroidery-like thread to bind her six-page book.
Nils Nordal, assistant director of the Center for Innovation in Product Development, read from an instruction sheet as he tried for the second time to bind his third book. "Go around this one and up through here," he said as he pulled thread through the centerfold of a small sheaf of folded cream-colored paper. "What I didn't do the first time was bring these ends to either side of this string, so it was going to be too loose," he explained, preparing to tie off his binding threads.
Nordal said he took the class to do "something fun." During IAP, "you get the chance to go do something that has nothing to do with your background, with your work, with your course of study," he said. He plans to teach pamphlet-making to his young niece.
Heather Kaufman, a preservation services librarian, taught the class with two of her co-workers. "With bookmaking, you never stop learning," she said. "Whatever materials you're using, you learn about them. For instance, if you're using leather, you learn about tanning."
The class is popular. One student said this was her fourth attempt to get in. The 11 waitlisted people should take heart; there's always next year.