The Leighton library, which is the oldest purpose-built library in Scotland, opened in 1687 and houses not only the private collection of Bishop Robert Leighton but many other masterpieces and first editions such as The Edinburgh Edition of Robert Burns poems (1787). The collection having been added to over the centuries now extends to around 4,500 books with the oldest book dating back to 1504.
The Grade -A library building, located in Dunblane is now 333 years old and is in urgent need of restoration and following a successful fund-raising appeal by the trustees of the library, the restorative works are now ready to go ahead which include repairs to the roof, leadwork, stonework, windows and doors as well as the marble cartouche and other works.
In preparation for the restoration work to begin in mid-November, the library had to be emptied and Doree Bonner International were tasked with the job of packing and storing the book collection alongside twelve chairs of turkie leather and the framed American Atlas maps.
The packing of these valuable masterpieces required the upmost care and precision. A small team of Doree Bonners professional expert packers were selected to carry out the job - and as space was extremely limited in the library area there was only room for three packers.
Each of the 4,500 books was taken from the bookcases separately and then carefully wrapped using acid free tissue paper, one piece per book, the acid free tissue gives protection to the book covers or bindings which are either leather or vellum. The packers wore white cotton gloves to handle the books, which were changed every day.
The books were then placed in special lidded crates and forty to sixty crates were filled each day; packs of silicone gel have been inserted into each of the crates to absorb any moisture.
The crates were then carried to one of our containerised vehicles and taken to be stored in one of Doree Bonner’s secure storage facilities. With the library area now completely empty the restoration works will begin and it is anticipated that this will take around four months.
Colin Mcgregor – Special Projects Director for Doree Bonner International commented:
‘We are delighted to be a part of such a major project for the Leighton library, the handling of such historic pieces has been an honour. We look forward to returning the books to their rightful home when the restoration works are complete’
Alan Clevett – Leighton Library Trustee Executive commented
‘The Library Trustees and Executive have been delighted with the service provided by Doree Bonner and their on-site team. A friendly welcome from the first morning, punctual, and very clear in explaining their daily objectives and combining those with the needs of the library. The team were clearly very experienced in handling rare books and treated them with the same care and attention that the library itself has for them!
Any unforeseen challenges were managed and resolved efficiently, and cooperation was excellent, gaining the full respect of everyone at the Leighton Library. We hope you will care for our books, and we look forward to seeing them, and your team, when they are returned next year!
Donations can be made at www.leightonlibrary.org.uk