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The Kid Should See This

Roger Cox, a ‘book doctor’ at work

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“I love my work. I love working with my hands,” signs book conservator Roger Cox in this British Library video.

“When I see damage to a book, it’s like the book needs a doctor – and I’m that doctor…

“I’m most happy when I put everything back together. And once everything’s finished, I love it, seeing that the book is back to life.”

Roger Cox is a talented repair specialist on the team at The British Library, the most distinguished research library in England and one of the largest libraries in the world. The team’s conservation efforts are crucial in maintaining the library’s physical collections “which number some 150 million items, from all cultures dating from 3000 BCE to the present day.”

book spine repair
Their skills must include a variety of mediums and materials—paints, inks, and glues, as well as paper, parchment, photographs, leather, papyrus, wood, textile, ceramic, and metal. Conservators also specialize in scientific imaging and analysis.

cover color matching
The British Library shares a series of help videos to address issues like preventing damage from pests and handling folded and rolled items.

Watch these related book and restoration videos next:
Wet Book Rescue: How to repair a wet, damaged book
The evolution of the book
• The art of making a book: Setting type, printing, and binding by hand
• Microscopically reweaving a 1907 painting
• How art conservator Julian Baumgartner restores damaged paintings
How to make quill pens from bird feathers

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