Book Arts: Learn more about it!
Bookbinding is enjoying a revival now, and there are many resources offering a wide variety of information and expertise. A great place to start is the Books Arts Web which offers both a listserv and links to resources and preservation sites and much more. The Guild of Book Workers is the national organization for all the book arts. In-depth workshops in the book arts are offered at the annual Paper and Book Intensive. Iowa conservator Gary Frost's site http://futureofthebook.com/ is dedicated to the "preservation and persistence of the changing book."
In addition to bookbinding, you may want to investigate these topics:
Paper making is fun, and relatively easy. Several kits are now available through craft stores. Many craft centers include paper-making in their activities. If you want to learn more about papermaking, you may want to start by touring the American Museum of Papermaking, a well-illustrated introduction to how paper has been made through the ages. The museum was founded by Dard Hunter, a lifetime devotee, scholar, and advocate for hand-made paper. The Friends of Dard Hunter is an organization which celebrates hand-made paper and related arts. The Prairie Paper Project provides full instructions on how to make paper from grasses; a procedure that can be used with older kids.
Letterpress printing requires a certain investment in machinery, but yields a beautiful image. Start with Resources for Letterpress Printers (which has a link to the interesting American Amateur Press Association).
If you're interested in collecting books, or you have some old books that you want to have evaluated, you should start with antiquarian or second-hand book shops in your area. Needless to say, booksellers are trying to make a living, so don't hesitate to get a second opinion.
If you are collecting in a specific area or are looking for a particular title, the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association of America now offers an assortment of dealers' catalogs, searchable on the Web.
Professional programs in conservation
Ask for the brochure on "Conservation Training in the UnitedStates" from the American Institute for Conservation (AIC),1717 K St., NW, Ste. 301, Washington, DC 20006, (202) 452-9545. Conservators can work in many fields, including architectural preservation, museums, and historical resources of all kinds.
Professional programs in book arts
The University of Iowa's Center for the Book provides instruction in book arts as well as in conservation, and houses the library of the Guild of Book Workers.
Walk through Douglas Jones' bookbinding tutorial.