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Save a book, save a dollar

Dougherty helps schools learn book repair tips and tricks to stretch budget dollars

The collaboration between Elkhart Public Library and Elkhart Community Schools has benefitted students in ways that foster a love of reading and learning.

One recent, behind-the-scenes collaboration was just as important in this work as a headline grabber. It’s helping keep reading materials on school shelves for students.

Christina Dougherty, a member of EPL’s Technical Services staff, took her book repair skills and materials to a training session for school librarians and media specialists. The lesson taught will help schools stretch their budgets.

“It hurts my feelings to check out a book in an abysmal state,” says Dougherty, who’s worked in Tech Services for the past 10 years. “With limited budgets, it makes sense to be able to repair items and save them from having to be replaced.”

Dougherty used binding tape, book glue and other items to show ECS employees, who received their own mending kits from the school system, how to get damaged books back onto the shelves.

“If they save money on repairs, then they can spend that money on new items instead of replacing existing ones,” she says.

In school libraries books can take on quite a bit of damage, Dougherty says: “When you’re only loaning to kids, you can imagine what that looks like.”

Technical Services has a wide variety of duties for the library along with book repair, Dougherty says. The department oversees book ordering and processing, which gets the materials into the online catalog for viewing and checkout.