Paper University e-Newsletter: January/February 2002

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Celebrate National Library Week 2002!

Now that winter is finally here, the holidays are over, and the school year is halfway over, what better time to catch up on your reading, visit your local library, and get ready for National Library Week. The theme for this year's celebration is "@ your library", and will take place April 14 - 20, 2002.

First Lady Laura Bush, a former librarian, says that "National Library Week is a great time to remind people about the value of a free library card. Libraries are community treasure chests, loaded with a wealth of information available to everyone, equally, and the key to that treasure chest is a library card."

Sponsored by the American Library Association, National Library Week is part of the Campaign for America's Libraries, a five-year educational initiative designed to promote the value of libraries and librarians in the 21st century. Libraries in all 50 states are participating in the "@ your library" campaign, and represent public, school, academic, state, and special libraries. Today's libraries are high-tech, dynamic community centers for education, information and entertainment. Look for programs in your community, and take advantage of your local library's wealth of resources. Celebrate National Library Week 2002!

To learn more, visit


ACTIVITIES Return to Top

Making a Simple 8-page Book

Children love writing and illustrating their own stories. You can show them how to bind their literary creations using this simple stitching method.

These instructions tell how to create an 8-page book. Add more sheets of copier paper for additional pages. Each additional sheet of paper will create 4 more book pages.

What you'll need:

  1. 2 sheets of 8/12 X 11" photocopier paper for the text pages (additional sheets if desired)
  2. 1 sheet of medium-weight construction paper or art paper for the cover
  3. Heavy thread, embroidery floss, thin decorative cord, or dental floss, cut to a length 3 times longer than the short width of the cover
  4. Pencil or pen
  5. Paper clips
  6. Ruler
  7. Large-eyed needle, not too sharp
  8. Awl or pushpin
  9. Kitchen towel, folded in quarters


  1. Be sure that both the width and length of the construction or art paper are at least 1/2" larger than photocopier paper. If not, cut photocopier paper so that both width and length are 1/2" smaller than the cover paper. The construction paper will be your cover, and the photocopier paper will be your text sheets.
  2. Fold cover paper in half the "hamburger" way. Smooth the fold with the side of a pen or pencil.
  3. Now fold sheets of photocopier paper in half the same way and again smooth folds with the side of a pen or pencil. Put one sheet inside the other.
  4. Put the folded text sheets inside the folded cover sheet, centering them evenly. There should be about a 1/4" margin outside the text sheets. Place paper clips at top and bottom to hold text paper in place.
  5. Place the open book on top of the folded towel.
  6. Use ruler to find the exact center of the fold, and punch a small hole there with the awl or pushpin.
  7. Now use the ruler to find the center point between the punched hole and the top of the book. Put a hole there with awl or push pin.
  8. Repeat step 7 to make one last hole between the center hole and the bottom of the book.
  9. Thread needle but do not tie knot at end. Push threaded needle down through center hole from the outside of book to the inside. Leave a length of thread about 4" long sticking out of center. (You will later tie this off.)
  10. Bring needle out of top hole from the inside of the book out, then down through the bottom hole from the outside in.
  11. Finally, sew back up through the center hole. You will have two lengths of thread sticking out from the center hole.
  12. Tighten and adjust thread as necessary. Tie a bow or knot and trim thread to desired length.


Adapted from "Bookmaking: a single-signature pamphlet" from the web site "Preservation Education and Awareness for Library Users"; University of California, San Diego;

For more ideas on bookmaking, visit these web sites:

"Bind It Fast: Make or repair books with this easy technique"

"Making Pop-Up Books" by Joan Irvine

"Making Books with Susan Kapuscinski Gaylord: For Teachers, Parents, and Children"


NEWS Return to Top

The Library of Congress in Washington, DC is the largest library in the world. It is also the oldest federal cultural institution in our country, having survived several fires and wars since its founding in 1800. The Library of Congress currently contains more than 120 million items. If placed end-to-end, the bookshelves there would span about 530 miles. The Library of Congress contains more than 18 million books, but also 2.5 million audio-visual recordings, 12 million photographs, 4.5 million maps, and 54 million rare manuscripts. Its primary mission is to serve the research needs of the U.S. Congress, but it also serves all Americans through its website and 22 reading rooms on Capitol Hill.

The Library of Congress website at has a wide array of information for the public, including America's Library (Fun Site for Kids and Families), American Memory (Historical Collections of American History in Words, Sound, and Pictures), Online Gallery and Art Exhibits, and Thomas (Legislative Information from the U.S. Government).

Here are some other interesting facts about the Library of Congress:

  • The Library of Congress receives about 22,000 items each work day, and adds approximately 10,000 new items to the collection daily.

  • The smallest book in the Library of Congress is Old King Cole; it measures 1/25" x 1/25", or about the size of the period at the end of this sentence. The pages can only be turned with the use of a needle.

  • The largest book in the collection is John James Audubon's Birds of America, which is 39.37" high.

  • It also contains one of only three perfect copies of the Gutenburg Bible in the world.

  • The Library of Congress also contains the largest rare book collection in North America. It includes the first book printed in North America - the Bay Psalm Book (1640), pictured on the right.


DID YOU KNOW? Return to Top


  • The rarest (and most valuable) comic book is an issue in which Batman first makes an appearance. It sold at auction for a record $85,000.

  • The top-selling fiction author is Agatha Christie, whose 78 crime novels have sold an estimated 2 billion copies in 44 languages.

  • The world's best-selling and most widely distributed book is the Bible, with an estimated 3.88 billion copies sold between 1815 and 1998.

  • The last dictionary written by Noah Webster contained 70,000 words with their meanings. He wrote it with no help and by hand!



Question: What is the best way to preserve my child's artwork and school papers?

Answer: These types of paper should be kept cool and dry, and away from light and household pests.

Aging of any type of paper is accelerated by sunlight (UV ray exposure causes yellowing, fading and brittleness), heat (which breaks down the lignin), moisture (mildew stains), dirt (degrades the fibers), and household pests (like silverfish and beetles). Papers such as newsprint and construction paper have a fairly high lignin content, and these papers age faster than copy paper, for instance, with a lower lignin content. This makes it more challenging to preserve school papers, since schoolwork is frequently done on newsprint and construction papers.

For more information, check this website: (The Care and Preservation of Archival Materials).


RESOURCES Return to Top


  • Visit to find all your favorite classics online. Be sure to look at the "Familiar Quotations" page ( for a collection of great passages, phrases and proverbs.

  • Check out the web site of the Center for Children's Books, whose goal is "to create a practical and inspirational web site devoted to current, classic, and overlooked books for youth…"

  • The International Book Collectors Association has a nice site that answers questions on storing and restoring books.





"I cannot live without books." - Thomas Jefferson

"In the case of good books, the point is not to see how many of them you can get through, but rather how many can get through to you." - Mortimer J. Adler

"When you read a classic, you do not see in the book more than you did before. You see more in you than there was before." - Clifton Fadiman


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