I’d like to provide a different perspective from the responses I’ve read thus far. Reading them, there seems a consensus that not binding is the way to go. Although I don’t deal with managing our print serials collection any more, that group reports into me.


My library continues to bind journals and I am a strong proponent of doing so. This stuff is expensive, not just to purchase but to manage. We have a big investment in it. We’ve spent quite a bit of time reshaping our print journal collection to ensure we acquire content that is core to the disciplines we support. Part of our core definition is longterm preservation and access. There is no better guarantee of longterm preservation of print journals than good binding, in my view.


Over the last ten years our print subscriptions have deliberately been sharply reduced in favor of online access, but we still subscribe to around 300 or so print journals, and I don’t see that number going down significantly for a long time. So in part, we have reduced our binding costs that way, although they are still significant. Our bindery was recently purchased by and consolidated with a sort of conglomerate. They sharply raised prices and imposed conditions that required us to rethink the binding frequency workflow (minimum number of boxes per shipment) and so on. It’s been a pain in the neck, and I wish we had more binding options, but on their side, I’m sure they’re coping with reduced flow of materials to bind as libraries stop binding and/or switch to online.


Another aspect of our local situation worth mentioning is that last year, we moved our entire inventory of bound journals into remote storage. I think the total number was around 60,000 vols., and was done as a key piece of allowing us the swing/growth space to convert our entire print collection of books from Dewey to LC. As part of that process, we implemented a high quality scanner located in remote storage along with a daily workflow whereby students/staff receive article requests and can scan articles onsite for delivery through ILLiad. Good binding is a critical piece of being able to deliver high quality scans. And bound journals in storage are yes, still being used quite a bit. As we continue to add new volumes for current subscriptions, the remote storage collection continues to grow as well.


Hopefully this perspective gives food for thought. As with other libraries, budgets will grow increasingly tight and we may finally be forced to rob Peter to pay Paul. I don’t know.




Steve Oberg

Assistant Professor and Group Leader for Resource Description and Digital Initiatives

Buswell Library | Wheaton College (IL) | +1 (630) 752-5852

Make an appointment


From: <serialst@simplelists.com> on behalf of Matthew Person <mperson@mbl.edu>
Reply-To: "serialst@simplelists.com" <serialst@simplelists.com>
Date: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 at 9:25 AM
To: LeAnne Rumler <lrumler@hillsdale.edu>, "serialst@simplelists.com" <serialst@simplelists.com>, Rola Hajj <rhage@lau.edu.lb>
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] binding issue.


Yes...we stopped binding about 15 years ago. As LeAnne says, if your bound issues are not well used, string, nothing, magazine boxes, plastic bags, all can do the job. 


Good luck, Matt


Matthew Person

Marine Biological Laboratory


Technical Services Coordinator



From: serialst@simplelists.com <serialst@simplelists.com> on behalf of LeAnne Rumler <lrumler@hillsdale.edu>
Sent: Wednesday, February 26, 2020 8:50 AM
To: serialst@simplelists.com <serialst@simplelists.com>
Subject: Re: [SERIALST] binding issue.


Hello Rola,

It may be time to do an in depth evaluation of your periodical collection and the use it is getting. Is there enough use of your bound periodicals to continue binding rather than recycling?  We found that our students and faculty rarely used most of our periodicals once we bound them and moved them to the 3rd floor. They got no use at all if there was an electronic alternative. We stopped professionally binding most of our titles and started using cardboard ‘binding’ boxes for the titles we continued to bind. Most of our titles we keep only current year on the shelf and then recycle. 

Hope this helps,


LeAnne Rumler

Technical Services Librarian

Mossey Library

Hillsdale College

Sent from my iPad

On Feb 26, 2020, at 6:33 AM, Rola Hajj <rhage@lau.edu.lb> wrote:




Good morning,

 This is regarding the binding process. 2018 and 2019 titles are still unbound in  our library. Therefore we are facing two controversial issues.


a-Binding the issues  will produce a budget problem .


b-Not binding the 2018 and 2019 issues and relying on economical  plastic  bags (For a package of 100 bags( size A4) the price will be $12;For a package of 100 bags( size A3) the price will be $15)  .

do you think that plastic bags are a good solution ?

Thank you for your help.





Rola Hajj

Senior Serials & Electronic Resources Manager
Library - Collection Management Division

Office: +961 1 786456 ext. 2276



Beirut | Byblos | New York









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