As this links into the NAG’s Servicing Standards, and to our recent NAG Seminar focused on Sustainability, we felt this was a very relevant question and we’re interested to hear what the general feeling is around this. It’s obvious from even a quick chat with librarians there is a very different landscape in Public Libraries Vs Academic Libraries at the moment. People also don’t seem to be satisfied with the “eco” alternative products longer term so it’s currently a choice between plastic or nothing – unless anyone has found a great new product?

We discussed this topic at our first Coffee and A Chat session in October 2023.

4 responses to “Plastic book jackets. Should we still be adding a plastic cover to our books? What are other people doing? #CoffeeAndAChat#1”

  1. jeffmiller avatar
    jeffmiller

    As the Seminar got me thinking, we’ve tied this consideration in with a larger look at usage of print books, and the speed in which some editions can change. Can a book last between editions without any extra protection? Maybe for Schools with a more regular edition turnover (Law / Business?). What do other’s think??

    1. gavinphillips avatar
      gavinphillips

      I have done a little bit of exploration with consortia members – just anecdotal stuff rather than something statistically sound! Feedback from HE libraries indicates that uncovered books last better than some expected with little if any impact on the number of repairs or replacement copies required. Generally it seems that exceptions are made for covering items that are expensive, difficult to source, or are quite flimsy.

  2. sallyallen avatar
    sallyallen

    Does anyone use a “casebinding” service where paperbacks are rebound to make them stronger and last longer? I met with a library recently who still use this regularly and we discussed whether there is potential for growth here with the removal of plastic jackets? The books will last longer – there is a cost involved however the book is still less expensive than a hardback. Personally I do not believe the various providers will be able to cope with demand on a mass scale but perhaps for selected titles. Currently I understand it can take up to a month, if not longer, for books to be re-bound.

  3. hannahdobson avatar
    hannahdobson

    We don’t add plastic covers or jackets to our print books and haven’t for quite a few years. We have an e first policy and have had one for many years, our print collection is based on items needed for reading lists that aren’t available in e format, our spaces are in high demand for study space and so our print collection is quite small and so turns over (is reviewed for relevance) at a relatively high rate. This all combined means that we don’t ‘need’ the plastic covers. We do rebind where we really need to and use a specialist book binder to do this but only when it’s really essential and the book would be difficult to replace or is especially rare or meaningful to us.

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