The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 23, Number 5


Vellum Prevails in British Parliament

It did seem as though Britain was ready to start printing its laws on paper instead of vellum, which has been used for this purpose for centuries. The switch was announced in Paper Conservation News and the last issue of this newsletter as a fait accompli. But the December issue of PCN announced that the Labour back benchers and Tories had formed an alliance after debating the question for over an hour, and defeated the move by a vote of 121 to 53.

What was at stake, apparently, was the way the new regulation would have affected the firm of William Cowley Ltd., which provides vellum for conservation purposes as well as printing of laws. The British Library, National Libraries of Wales and of Scotland, and Trinity College Dublin all sent letters of concern about the possible loss of the source of high-quality vellum used to conserve their manuscripts and early bindings. Another consideration was the possible loss of the art of printing on vellum, which only one company in Britain can do.

The entire debate has been mounted in the IPC website in the Notices section.

New Addresses and Phone Numbers

The Center for Book Arts has moved to 28 West 27th St., 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10001. Closest cross streets are 6th Ave. and Broadway. Tel.: 212/481-0295; website <>.

The Minnesota Center for Book Arts plans to move April 1 to 1011 Washington Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55415. Tel: 612/338-3634;; website

Disaster Recovery Services, Inc. has merged with Recovery Solutions International. The new company is called Belfor USA. Its headquarters is at DRS's address, with the same phone, 800 # and fax number:

Belfor USA, 24225 Blue Smoke Court South, Fort Worth, TX 76105 (tel. 800/856-3333, 817/535-6793; fax 817/536-1167). The website is <>.

London telephone codes (area codes) have been restructured. Inner London numbers used to begin with (0171); now they will begin with (020) 7, followed by seven digits. Outer London numbers used to begin with (0181); now they will begin with (020) 8. So the final digit has been dropped entirely; the 7 and 8 have migrated outside the parentheses to merge with the telephone number proper; and the "01" has become "020."

NISO Press has moved. Its new address is NISO Press Fulfillment, PO Box 451, Annapolis Junction, MD 20701-0451 (tel: 301/362-6904; fax: 301/206-9789; toll-free: 877-736-6476). Orders may be placed through the website:

Bark Frameworks has moved. They have a new showroom at 270 Lafayette St. Suite 500, NY, NY 10012, with the same phone and fax as before; their new office, workshop and showrooms are at 21-24 44th Ave., Long Island City, NY 11101, and the phone and fax numbers are 718/752-1919; 718/392-5546. The second address is the one to use for correspondence.

Paper Industry News



In the last half of September, the eastern third of North Carolina experienced the worst flooding in its history, and libraries, even entire towns, were flooded. There was four feet of water in one library, and water came up to shoulder level in another. Equipment, shelving, and all the books but those on the two top shelves were lost in one library. (The report in American Libraries makes no mention of freeze-drying any wet books.)

In Kentucky, at about the same time as the floods in North Carolina, an early-morning fire broke out in the Louisville Free Library's main building, destroying the technical services department in the basement and about 10,000 new books waiting to be processed. Total cost could amount to $1.8 million. The cause of the fire was thought to be the electrical system, although the building had passed a fire safety inspection only a month earlier. The fire department arrived two minutes after the alarm sounded and kept the fire from spreading beyond the basement, but smoke permeated both the original 1908 building and the 1969 addition. All 400,000 books in the library had to be cleaned, the library's 250 computers had to be taken out for cleaning, and the air had to be scrubbed. (The report in American Libraries does not say whether the library had sprinklers.)

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