New Methods Book Bindery
Backstory and Context
Lawrence D. Sibert (1891-1979) began working for Ward Brothers, a printing and bookbinding company in Jacksonville, Illinois in 1908. He learned the trade of bookbinding and was a department foreman by 1913.
In January 1920, Sibert started a libary bindery known as New Method Book Bindery with William T. Suhy in Jacksonville. The two men were brothers-in-law. Suhy was the salesman who called on libraries thoughout the Midwest while Sibert ran the bindery. The company had three employees.
Also in 1920, W. Elmo Reavis, a prominent California bookbinder, invented the oversewing machine. This machine was a vast improvement over the difficult, tedious hand sewing and gave impetus to the growth of this new specialized bookbinder, the library binder. These new companies rebound worn library books and also bound together volumes of magazines. Public libraries were being built and existing libraries were expanding greatly during the first few decades of the twentieth century resulting in a growing demand for the services of the library binders.
New Method Book Bindery did fairly well and by 1923 the business moved from the second floor of Degan's dance Hall at 220 South Main to the three-story Brown's Business College building at 201 South Kosciusko. At the new location, boxes of finished books were lowered by a lift from the second floor to the ground for shipment. One day the lift broke and a load of books fell to the ground. Only one corner of one book was damaged and a bystander remarked, "Those books are certainly bound to stay bound!" Thus was the company slogan born.
Start of Prebinding
While New Method rebound worn books and bound magazines, they also started a new type of business in the 1920s. Sibert noticed that children�s books seemed to get especially rough treatment in libraries and the same titles were repeatedly being sent to New Method to be rebound. He realized that efficiency would increase by rebinding several hundred copies of a title at a time, rather than piecemeal as the libraries sent them in. So New Method began prebinding children�s books, which meant purchasing quantities of a title directly from the publisher, binding them using more durable materials and processes, and selling them as new books to libraries.
The postwar baby boom brought an increasing number of children into public schools and the need for prebound library books grew accordingly. Deciding to concentrate on prebound books, Lawrence D. Sibert talked with two other library binders, Lawrence Hertzberg of Monastery Hill Bindery in Chicago and Ernest Hertzberg of Hertzberg Craftsmen Bindery in Des Moines Iowa, about forming a new company to combine the rebinding work of all three binderies into one operation.
This was accomplished with the opening of the Hertzberg-New Method Bindery in South Jacksonville, Illinois on June 17, 1954. As planned, the Hertzbergs soon took over ownership and operation of this new rebinding company.
The Siberts continued to concentrate on prebinding at New Method on Kosciusko Street. This prebinding business, particularly the inventory of finished books, quickly grew beyond the capacity of the Kosciusko location. Therefore New Method built a 43,000 square foot building on a single level on the west edge of Jacksonville in 1959. The inventory area was designed so that the order pickers could roller skate the aisles, a practice that is continued today. A special room was also constructed in the new building to house the company's first large IBM computer.
In the mid-1960s, Hertzberg-New Method Bindery started a line of reinforced paperback books, Perma-Bound Books, which would one day compete with Bound to Stay Bound Books in the school library market.