Old books return to life in library

Old books return to life in library

BURSA - Anadolu Agency
Old books return to life in library

Organic materials and acid-free papers are being used in the restoration of printed books and manuscripts. AA photos

Old books are being renovated in the restoration section of the first madrasah library of the Ottoman history in the northwestern province of Bursa. Organic material, acid-free paper and silk are used in their detailed restoration and the books are presented to serve researchers.

The “Paper and Cover Restoration” section at the İnebey Manuscript Library is home to the books that have been destroyed by humidity, fungus and book worms. These books are going through processes like page cleaning, cover restoration and decoration. Two books restorers working for the library have revived some 800 books since 2010.

The director of the library, Osman Nuri Solak, said all books destroyed by detrimental effects were being restored in detail, from their pages to their cover. “If there are chemical and damaging effects on the pages of these books, we first clean them. Then the book goes through the restoration processes on each page. The restoration ends with the binding of the book,” he said.

Once the restoration is done, each of the book’s pages is transferred into the digital environment in high resolution, said Solak.
Old books return to life in library
damage and materials used for restoration did not harm the books. He said they used organic materials and acid-free papers in the restoration, and said, “Sometimes a book may be completely unbound or its inner pages may be destroyed. If there is deformation on the book, we intervene. First of all, we disassemble the book and complete the missing parts with Japanese paper. If there are book worms, we clean them one by one with a lancet.”

Bilmiş said the books were going through the pressing process later on, and continued: “In the final process, the edges of Japanese papers are trimmed to become integrated with the book. We use thrown silk to sew the back of the manuscripts. This is a completely natural and silk material. Then we work on the cover of the book. The size of the book is taken and an appropriate cover is made according to it. It is also decorated. Finally, I assemble the cover to the book and the restoration is complete.”

Historic unbound

Bilmiş said they could also make covers for historic unbound works according to their era. He said they used leather similar like the original leather used in the work’s cover. “We use saffian and goat skin. We trim it manually and bring it to the size of A4 paper. We dry the trimmed leather on glass and the dried leather becomes suitable for processing. Then, we attach it to the books. If ornamentation is necessary, we make some applications. Ornamentation is made with gold. We press the gold leaf, add water to it and use very thin brushes for ornamentation and we get a cover similar like an original manuscript cover,” he said.
Old books return to life in library
Another restorer working for the library, Hüseyin Delil, said the books have various damaged parts and they needed to clean them page by page to get rid of those damages. He said dust on books is cleaned with a thin brush specially produced for book restoration, and then a kind of eraser or wet cleaning materials are used to clean the dirt. “In this way, pages get wet and becomes suitable for pressing, the next process,” he said.

Delil said the cover of the books could be made with book sleeves, like in their own era, adding cover restoration of manuscripts and printed books was done in different ways. He said that partly leather was used in printed books. “Designs are made with leaf gold on the cover of manuscripts, but printing blocks are generally used for printed books,” he said.

Delil said books with fungus were the most damaged ones, adding the restoration process varies between one day and one month.