Resources for Selecting and Working with a Library Binder

Prepared by Shannon Zachary, Head of Conservation Services University Library, University of Michigan at Ann Arbor
From “To Bind or Not to Bind," 2001 ALA Annual Conference, June 16, 2001, San Francisco

Library Binding Institute

The Library Binding Institute (LBI) is the professional organization for library binders. The LBI web site includes a national listing of certified library binders with contact information.

ANSI/NISO/LBI Z39.78-2000
American National Standard.  Library Binding.  Bethesda, MD: NISO Press, 2000.

ANSI/NISO/LBI Z39.78-2000 is the standard for library binding in the United States.  Libraries should inquire and expect their binders to adhere to this standard.  Binderies often offer economy alternative styles that do not entirely meet the specifications in the standard.  These alternatives have an appropriate place for some materials in some situations; ask the binder which products do and do not meet the specifications and discuss the implications in order to make a decision appropriate for your library.  Available to download as a PDF file at NISO.

Merrill-Oldham, Jan, and Paul Parisi.  Guide to the Library Binding Institute Standard for Library Binding.  Chicago and London: American Library Association, 1990.

Although the ANSI standard for which it was originally written as a guide has changed substantially in the 2000 revision, this pamphlet is still a wealth of information about library binding from the library point of view. Technical terms are defined and illustrated with clear line drawings. Reasons for deciding for or against technical alternatives are delineated. The appendices include sample decision trees for library binding, guidelines for evaluating the quality of library binding, and a generic list of the key elements of a binding agreement.

Conservation OnLine (CoOL)

Under “Conservation Topics” on the home page follow the links for “Library Binding.” Resources at this site include sample RFPs for library binding and position descriptions for commercial bindery preparations staff.

Local Library Binders

To find library binders in your area, see the LBI listings above. Library binders are willing and able to talk with library staff about their services. Many binderies have web sites or literature with information and staff who can discuss your specific needs with you. Consider arranging a tour of a library bindery: it is an enlightening experience!