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Four beautiful, leather bound books within the Rare Books Collection.
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John M. Olin Library Room 142 & Zoom

Bound for Beauty: A Book Binding Demonstration

Intricately cut colors of leather, gold tooling and elaborate designs adorn the covers of beautiful books, but have you ever wondered how these books are made? To celebrate the exhibition Bound for Beauty, Washington University Libraries is hosting a book binding demonstration by Noah Smutz, book conservator. Noah will discuss how to bind a book, with models he created to illustrate the steps. He will also demonstrate how to prepare leather for binding and apply gold tooling for decoration. After the demonstration, in-person attendees will be invited to view the exhibition and enjoy the beautiful bindings on display. 

Free and open to all. Event will be held in-person at John M. Olin Library in Room 142 and virtually through a Zoom webinar. Pre-registration is required for both.

This event has passed.

Bound for Beauty is generously sponsored by Donald A. and Laura E. Shindler.


Noah Smutz is a book conservator and the owner of NS Conservation LLC. Noah has been in the field of conservation since 2011 when he started as a student worker in the University of Kansas Libraries conservation lab. He has since held internships for the Smithsonian Archives and Bodleian Library amongst others. He graduated with a master’s degree in Book Conservation from West Dean College in the United Kingdom. Previously he has worked as a book conservator for the Smithsonian Libraries. He has been a member of the American Institute for Conservation since 2010 and a Professional Associate since 2019.


All in-person attendees must adhere to all of Washington University’s public health requirements, including the latest events and meetings protocol. Masks are encouraged but not required. Guests must complete an attestation that they are fully vaccinated and/or that they will follow all university guidance while on campus. The attestation is available on the visitor screening tool.