Tell me your story

I have known Sarah and admired her work for a long time, so I am delighted she has agreed to trust me with running Bay Area Book Repair. Over the next few months I am going to be redesigning this website. In the meantime, you can reach me at vanessabookrepair@gmail.com.

I have spent the last fourteen years at the San Francisco Public Library, doing book and paper repair on the special collections there. If you haven’t been to the History Room or the Book Arts collections in the Main Library, I highly recommend a visit! Be sure to check out the exhibitions in the Skylight Gallery on the sixth floor. They are always beautiful and informative.

The library’s collections include materials from the fifteenth century to the present, so I gained experience across a range of historical structures and formats: books, maps, manuscripts, blueprints, and so on. I loved my work and learned a lot.

There was only one thing missing: talking to people about the books they love. Most people have a treasure. Maybe it is your mother-in-law’s old cookbook with your husband’s favorite recipes. Or a book you loved as a child that you want to pass on to your grandchild. Or a family bible. 

Maybe you are a collector: books on bees, or airships, or maps of California. Collectors are so knowledgeable, and I love to hear about their passions.

Understanding why someone values a particular book changes the feel of my work. I recently repaired a volume from a set of children’s books that had been in this family for a couple of generations. The mom was unhappy that this much-loved childhood treasure was falling apart. Her daughter asked me to repair the book. She wanted to give it back to her mom on Mother’s Day. I thought about that story with every page I repaired. 

So tell me your story, and let’s figure out how to bring your book back to life.