Building a reference library is a noble undertaking, but you have to sometimes bind your own materials. Not everything is already in print and there are times when e-books simply will not do. Whatever your topic, it takes hours of research to glean all the possible sources, print them out, and ready them for permanent storage. You want a quality job, not something that will fall apart after a few hands have perused the pages. Information is precious so if you want to keep it intact, there are certain rules to follow.

One is to use a heavy duty saddle stapler that can work with up to fifty sheets of paper. You want the option of saddle or flat stitching, and it should be adjustable. Most staplers in the high-end range will give you dual functions and about a four inch stitching depth. Beginners might want to keep it simple however so read the directions carefully. Advanced users can operate two machines at the same time through a connection device. Two staples thus come out simultaneously for extra heavy synchronous binding.

Since this blog is a kind of saddle stapler 101, let me state right at the start that you will want to get at least 200 staples in one dispenser. You don’t want to have to refill very often and stop your work. Some staplers in this category weight about fifteen pounds, so that tells you the kind of tool you are in for. In addition, you can get 110V/220V in most stores.

Every library worth its salt should have one or more saddle staplers (and people capable of using them!). They come with a safety foot switch. What else should you know? You should be able to switch back and forth between saddle and flat staple mode, usually by plugging or unplugging the foot switch. You should also have an automatic start up when paper touches one of the “trigger switches.” Added to this, there is adjustable stapling pressure possible, sometimes up to nine or more.

If you are balking at the thought of binding your own fingers to the page, fear not. There are safety switches on all models that protect the operator. Danger comes from not paying attention or working when there is insufficient light or you are too tired. It takes some skill and you will improve over time.

The prospect of binding on site opens up enormous possibilities for a reference library of any size. You can start with the most popular topics and work your way over time to less requested ones. Sooner or later, it will all be useful to users. Once they know what is there, they will spread the word. If a library is known to be comprehensive in its holdings, and to include rare material, it will become a valuable resource. You can also bind Internet sources and e-book titles so people can go online at the library or later at home. It is questionable whether you want to loan your bound books or not. A lot of work can be undone if materials are not treated properly, are lost, or never returned.