One of my favorite specially prebound bindings comes from Children’s Plus, Inc. These books can be bent in two, have colorful covers integrated in the binding, and actually can withstand the worst abuse by students who are handling their first library books ever.
J.T. Fisher has been my local area rep for years and I enjoy his visits with tubs of books. There are simply times I need to examine the books in person and sometimes I’ll even read them on the spot. Despite my seeing hundreds of nonfiction titles, JT always has 2-3 sets that are new to me.
After moving to my new school, I was happy to welcome JT for a quick visit looking at fiction and picturebooks. JT provides wonderful personalized customer service. For example, if I need to work on collection development in the poetry section, JT will actually help compile a list for me to then edit online. For busy librarians, every bit of help saves time. This visit he showed me some tricks to sorting my existing lists online so I could pinpoint which titles I could afford immediately.
Poor JT has been with me through three schools. In each I have drug him through the collection to see the types of damage that occur with my population. He’s also witnessed the students interacting with the titles. During one memorable visit, the students handled JT’s sample books. I thought he might have a heart attack at how roughly the students handled the books, but the bindings held up. When the students left, he exclaimed, “You NEED my books.”
During this visit I was able to demonstrate another reason why I need more than simply library bound titles with papercovers. Take a look at these two pictures and tell me which set you’d choose to read:
The set on the left was the remains of two of my Judy Moody titles. The set on the right showed two versions of CPI Prebound titles. The insides remain sewn together, but the students are distressed when they pick up the set on the left to checkout. They assure me “they” didn’t damage the book. I’ve asked them if I should just take the tattered remains of the paper covers off, but when they see the remaining cover, they chose to keep the paper taped on.
While I order from a huge variety of vendors, CPI bindings hold up to some of my most circulated titles. I wonder which companies you have had excellent service with for extra strong bindings. Of course, Bound to Stay Bound titles will be on everyone’s list. Who else would you include?