Book healer

Woodland book healer is in with the old, out with the new

Created:   12/30/2012 08:41:07 PM PST

(photo: Deo Ferrer/Democrat)

It was a disaster.

When a Woodland family reunited with their heirloom Bible after 40 years – a volume of ancestral history passed down to the eldest daughter since the mid-1800s – they worried it was ruined for good.

The hardbound covers were detached, pages were torn and loose and debris and keepsakes such as locks of hair lined the spine or were lying loose among the pages, some salvageable, some not.

Enter book whisperer Tracy Warrington, who repairs books out of her Woodland home.

Warrington, whose business name is The Book Healer, reattached loose pages, repaired tears, replaced the detached cardboard covers with leather covers and painstakingly brushed 1,500-plus pages free of debris before handing the treasure back the family. Like new.

“It’s wonderful they’ll be able to have it. It makes me pretty happy,” said Warrington. “I think most people would look at the things and think that they can’t be fixed.”

Warrington, a Woodland resident for 13 years, became “hooked on the thrill of restoring books,” as she describes, two years ago after joining the Woodland Public Library’s Spinetinglers group.

Spinetinglers are a group of dedicated library volunteers who donate their time, skills and patience to the cleaning and repair of books and materials in the library collection. The small coalition meets twice per month to repair pages, hinges, spines and covers to lengthen the life span of materials under the tutelage of Marcia Cary.

“I don’t know why some things spark you. And (book repair) sparked me,” Warrington said. “It’s the bringing something back that you would think was ruined.”

Over the summer, Warrington volunteered to assist the Yolo Hospice Bereavement Services in expanding and preserving their 700-plus title library. Duties included putting vinyl on paperbacks, Mylar on hard covers, tightening hinges or repairing small tears.

“I love the repair work maintenance,” Warrington said. “There’s work that can be done that prevents damage happening to your books in the first place.”

It was during this time that Warrington, who had recently stopped homeschooling her two children full-time, decided to start her own book repair business.

Since going live in October, The Book Healer has been steady, repairing archaeology reference materials at Woodland United Fellowship’s library, reinforcing bagpipe music books and vintage cookbooks, for example.

She continues to see family Bibles for repair, some from Jerusalem with covers of Cypress wood.

“People can really customize what they want,” said Warrington, who describes herself as a perfectionist.

Clients may choose covers, leather corners, end paper, dedication plate inserts and more. At this time, Warrington doesn’t do engraving. Warrington charges $40 per hour for her services, plus the cost of materials used. Replacing hinges might take five minutes, she said, while restoring an entire antique Bible might take two weeks. Each project varies.

With Kindles and Nooks and eReaders popping up all over the place, some question why Warrington decided to open a business dedicated to print materials.

“It’s going to make it more important to preserve the books they do have,” she responds. “I understand the advantages of our technologies, but I hope the day never comes when there’s no more books.”

Contact The Book Healer by calling 908-7600, emailing or visiting

Follow Elizabeth Kalfsbeek at

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