The Clarkson Book Support System is manufactured from a specially selected foam and is designed to support all types of publications from rare manuscripts to very old printed books. The design allows the book cradle to be adjusted to provide the optimum support to the publication no matter what the type of spine.
It was perhaps as a response to the previous decades of manifest deterioration of rare printed books and manuscripts that a revolution in attitude toward their preservation was required. Since the Clarkson Book Supports introduction in 1987, it has become natural to insist on the careful handling of books and manuscripts when used.
Where rare and irreplaceable books are being used, the use of a book support is considered crucial and must be sympathetically designed. Many book rests and lecterns do not allow for the changing spine shape as the book is opened and the pages turned whilst being read. In fact, they are often harmful because of their unforgiving nature and steep angle which places the book’s structure under strain. A further consideration is the need to provide a non-harmful method of keeping the book open. The reader should not be holding the book open with one hand while trying to write notes with the other, but should have both hands free. This is particularly important with parchment manuscripts which are easily marked by the natural oil from hands.
The foam material was especially selected for its particular pliability and sensitive surface which allows a book’s uneven board surfaces, even with bosses and side pins, to be equally supported over the entire exterior surface. The particular density of foam used ensures that books do not slip (even slight movement can damage a fragile cover), and the grey colour was found to be preferable in a library environment. Users appreciate the gentle and sympathetic nature of these book supports.
The Book Support System comprises 6 foam pieces -
1 x 20 degree base wedge
2 x side wedges
2 x rectangular pads
1 x spine support
Optional weighted snakes (lengths of weighted fabric) are available for holding the pages down. There are three sizes to choose from:
Large Base wedge measures 760 x 470mm (approximate width of opened book across both sides)
Medium Base wedge measures 500 x 349mm
Small Base wedge measures 370 x 225mm
Weighted fabric snakes come in pairs and are available in two sizes: