Oldest Southern library starts book bindery

Here is a fascinating article that highlights “the oldest library in the south” (the third oldest in the nation) and its recent efforts at starting a “book bindery to bind, by hand, new editions of historic books and repair books in its collection of tens of thousands of volumes dating to the 15th century.”

And it’s none other than the Holy City’s own Charleston Library Society where Brien Biedler was recently hired to lead the effort.   A recent graduate of the College of Charleston, Brien honed his skills working in the Addlestone Library’s Special Collections as well as “working with noted bookbinder Don Rash of Plains, Pa.”

Doubling down on the commitment the folks at the Library Society have also invested in a “new bindery and archival lab” where Brien can work on repairing and rebinding the numerous treasures in the collection.  And to top it off,  the Library Society and the new bindery have started publishing limited editions of South Carolina classics like “The Carolinian Florist,” a 1798 work by John Drayton” and “John Locke’s “Fundamental Constitution for Carolina” that will  feature “a foreword by retired U.S. Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor.”

(Editor’s Note: In an attempt at full disclosure, I have to admit to being partial to this story.  I spend a lot of time at the Library Society working on “stuff” for Against the Grain like this “Caught my Eye.”  I also know Brien personally and he is a truly dedicated and talented bookbinder.  And did I mention that the Charleston Library Society is one of the coolest spaces in Charleston.  So next November when you’re here for the Charleston Conference do yourself a favor and check it out!)


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