All paperbacks should be covered with laminate to help them withstand the high-volume use we will have with our library. The priority are the books for younger children, with books for adults a lower priority. We are using Brodart 4.5-Mil Gloss Vinyl Laminate Rolls in 3 different sizes (we have run out of the smallest size – new rolls have been ordered and will hopefully arrive soon). Please use this wisely as to avoid wasting any.
Supplies needed: laminate rolls, scissors, bone folder
- Wash your hands and inspect the book for any stickers or dirt. If the sticker is difficult to remove, you can use the adhesive dissolver Un-Do that is with the other library supplies. There are also clean cotton rags and an all-purpose spray for cleaning the books. Be gentle with the spray so you don’t damage the book. If you can’t get a sticker off without damaging the book, set the book aside. If you cover the book with the sticker on, it will be permanently adhered to the book.
- Select the size of laminate that fits the book the best. You want about one square overhang on all edges of the book, front, spine, and back. Use the grid to help you cut straight lines. If there is excess, it is generally helpful to cut it off now before you start working.
- Lay the laminate with paper side up. Carefully peel the adhesive backing from slightly over half of the laminate. Place your book in the center of that space, pressing firmly on all parts of the book.
- Peel the backing enough to press against the spine, turning the book as you need to make sure the laminate is sticking to the book evenly and firmly. Fold the laminate to follow the book cover, removing the paper backing one or two squares at a time. Use the bone folder as you go to remove any air bubbles or wrinkles.
- When all the paper backing is off, you should have your paperback book completely covered with a bit of overhang on all sides. Now is the time to turn it over and use the bone folder to remove any air bubbles.
- This step is hard to explain with words so bear with me: Cut off the corners of the laminate (the resulting cut piece will be a triangle – discard this). Also cut an angled slit at the spine. This will allow you to fold the laminate overhang over the edge of the book cover to the inside without overlapping. Do this for all 3 edges (minus the spine) of the front, and of the back. Then, trim the extra laminate at the top and bottom of the spine, getting as close to the book as you can. (Small scissors can help with this part, if you have them available.)
- Use the bone folder to make sure the laminate is smooth on all parts of the book and with minimal air bubbles.
- If there is a book processing form with the book, write your initials on the bottom of the checklist where it says “Reinforce book cover, if needed”. If there is no paper, just skip this step.
- Place the book on the white bookcase labeled “Finished Books”. Clive is sitting at the very top to help you find it. If you run out of room, either place the books at the very top or look around to see if you can free up shelf space elsewhere. If you move things around, just use a post-it note to label what you did.
- The laminate is repositionable for a few hours before it permanently adheres to the book. We have found that it does not come easily off plain paper, but it will come off shiny book covers. Be careful as you remove it so as not to damage the book. Sometimes when you have a high number of air bubbles, it can be helpful to remove and place it again.
- Any books that are not straightforward, put aside to ask Ashley when she gets back. If you want, write a note of explanation on a post-it note and put it on the front of the book.
- For a video explanation from the company that makes these laminate covers, follow this link.