Bookbinders and libraries: a broken dialogue?

Relations between libraries and their binders were long marked by a tradition of loyal compagnonnage (apprenticeship and trade guilds) and implicit trust. New French public tendering legislation in 2001 turned the balance of power upside down and saw a majority of public contracts placed with a few large semi-mechanised binding firms, causing great difficulties for small traditional binderies. The widespread ignorance of librarians regarding book-making and binding leads inevitably to mistakes and mutual incomprehension, a situation that this article, which voices the binders’ point of view, endeavours to amend.