Corona Times

3 April, 2020

And, another week is done, several big data reports showing the impact on library resources and services as a result of closing the physical location... Looking forward to the weekend and doing some needed yard work.

Seen in the neighborhood.

Fritz Otto says @pile_of_bricks has it spot on.
Be safe folks so you can keep making and
enjoying beautiful prints, books, ...
You know, things that make us think.
Check out and support his project to create a print workshop in Detroit.

Be safe!

30 March

The world is stopping, even we need to stop, especially when cooped up kids write stop on the road. The Ampelmann says stop, too, when he's not saying walk.

Stop means stop, vest from the Ampelmann Store in Berlin.

If you can't get out much anymore, for whatever reason, travel virtually. The New York Times has a good article.

29 March

Well, first week of "working" from home went well. Actually got work done and was able to chat with colleagues using various video tools... Common themes, this is getting old, fast; so glad to see another face and someone else's environment. This is how they got to see me.

Made a point of turning off the computer when I "went home" for the day...

Did have some fun and do something else during lunches and on this weekend. Decided to start having Fritz Otto show some of the artists' and fine press books in my collection on social media. Had seen that some people felt disconnected from their collections at work and wanting to see something else... On Twitter and Facebook.

The Warwick Press collection, most of it anyway.

Fritz Otto also found a simple portfolio protecting one of the books and wanted me to share the instructions, so I did. That post is here.

That simple portfolio.

Saturday we went for a drive to make sure the van started and their was juice to deploy my ramp to get in and out. Was a beautiful evening. Need to get outside more. Monday a "staycation" day.

What are you doing?

21 March

Went for a "walk" the other day to just get out of the house. We have a feeder canal to the Erie Canal near our house, as well as the trout stream that feeds it. While the bridge crossing the stream was well behind several no trespassing signs, there was still much to see and appreciate. These power lines were not observing social distance, but it's ok to hold one's child's hand.

Parent and child not observing social distance...

Got our last haircuts in a while as the Governor is shutting down non-essential businesses, particular related to personal care... Ditto for cafés where we got take-out for lunch on the way home. Today is it for them as well. Felt very surreal,  but hoping for best for all involved.

To help with tele-working, I treated myself to a new high quality webcam and got that hooked up. Monday it's back to "work" and I want to look my best. Even set the alarm for my usualish time. I work 7:30 - 4 and want to keep that routine.

I also helped my wife set up a blog for their turtle "Mort" who is living with us for the duration. Check it out at Mort Moves.

Will relax some, definitely not in a writing frame of mind. Maybe the last three episodes of Babylon Berlin.

18 March

Had a few productive and silly days.

Made good progress on my two German articles with the one on fish parchment almost done as a first draft. It's written in a conversation style and will refer readers to selected blog posts for videos of the process. In citing some sources, I found another source from a newspaper article that I was able to retrieve online from ZEFYS. LOVE these digital collections and couldn't have written these articles and the Ernst Collin related pieces without them, if only as discovery tools.

Paalzow, Hans. Bucheinbände aus Klippfisch, Berliner Tageblatt, Nr 141, 18 März, 1917.
An interesting thing in writing for German publications is that they have character counts, not word counts, a good thing with those really long words that they have.

Also had some some messing about and having Fritz Otto make a small salmon parchment covered box... More at Fritz Otto Says Be Safe and Fritz Otto Makes a Box with Lid (Kasten mit Hals).

Standing next to the lower box half.

Paring shark leather for the ends of the lower box half.

15 March

Things got real, and I am considered non-essential staff.
Dear Faculty and Staff:
Syracuse University continues to closely monitor and evaluate health advisories and guidance from federal, state and local public health officials related to the COVID-19 health emergency. Accordingly, given new and updated guidance, we write today to communicate important information for faculty and staff. Specifically:
Effective Tuesday, March 17, and through to March 30, only essential faculty and staff should report to our Syracuse, New York, campus...
So, work from home it is effective next week as this week is vacation...

My wife works at the University's Childcare Center that also closed, so we now have a corona refugee living with us. Goes by the name of Mort. Was informed/made to remember that mort is French pour death... Nope, not with us.

Have a book order that will be in the library's mailroom tomorrow, so will go in to retrieve that, sample books from the bindery of Werner Kiessig. More on him later. For now, back to Ernst Collin auf Deutsch. Going better than I thought.

14 March

Starting a new page that I'll use to "chronicle" the ups and downs of living and working with COVID-19 (No, not infected). I'm a librarian by day, bookbinder and history of the book... person in my off hours. Universities everywhere (like mine) have sent their students off (back home...), canceled or moved classes online only, but strangely libraries remain open (we're the busiest place on my campus by far). Governments (local, state, national) are telling people to self isolate and keep "social distance" to reduce transmission rates and thankfully I can do my day job from home if I need to without really giving much up. Music can be loud, coffee fresh when I make it, can work from porch and observe yard, ... So, not really bad, but also something many will not be able to do.

I start a week of long-planned [stay]vacation today. Have an article on the "millimeter" binding to submit for a German journal (translation of The Edelpappband, or “Millimeter” Binding), and then want to start on a German version of my fish parchment article as well as an article (also on German) about Ernst Collin and the Pressbengel folding in different threads such as the state of bookbinding at the time, collecting, the economy, and other "Ernstiana." Have time for these two, but will feel good to conceptualize and start. Fish will be eas[ier], Ernst more of a challenge particularly as it will likely close the more formal aspects of my research and publication. I'll also start prep for a class presentation on the history of the book that will be virtual, either with the library's special collections, or my own. We'll see.

As we all disperse we may well lose connections to our work and things we enjoy (those two not always connected). We've already lost most conferences, lectures, and workshops – this is going to drag out for months...  So, I may also try things like virtual coffee hours to talk shop in different contexts using Google Hangouts or Zoom, in addition to project updates. I think it would be great if other did the same. Beth Doyle at Duke has set up a wonderful starting point for her staff on the Preservation Underground. Check it out. I'm partial to the Brodsky Series that I started at Syracuse; slides and links to lecture video via each presenters page.

Unless the library goes to strictly work from home, I may end up popping in from time to time, but will likely try to spend most of my time at home, working. This will require self-discipline, so I will get up at my normal time and keep to routines as best as possible. We'll see.

So, here goes. Be safe and stay healthy.


  1. No change here. Have mostly worked from home since 1960.

  2. Thanks for this. My shop/studio is in a bigger building of studios.
    The building owners have closed the building to the "public", but it is accessible by the people who work here. Client pick up. etc, are now happening by delivery services.
    It is lovely and quiet. I might even get a book done that is for the pure joy of it.

    1. Better to play it safe. Enjoy the quiet, and most of all binding for the joy of it. It really is the best way. In terms of the quiet, I remember presenting at Standards in 2001 after 9/11. Standards was in Alexandria, VA, no planes were flying into Reagan/National, and it was still eerily quiet. Then, while presenting the first plane came in, something we heard and felt (right under final approach). Everyone clapped. I'm looking forward to that kind of moment now, but know it'll be some time. Take good care. p.