Loose pages are probably the number one problem you will have to deal with in repairing your books. When pages were sewn together, this was not so prevalent, although stitching did come apart occasionally. Even stitched pages can be repaired with glue, but if your book is that old, you may want to have it done professionally.
Now, most books are glued together, and over time, glue can simply cease to exist. This is especially true if it is a well loved, frequently read old favorite, or reference material that is used repeatedly. I find myself doing this most often with reference books, which happen to be my favorites! If loose pages are not dealt with, the problem only worsens over time, and eventually the whole book falls apart.
Fortunately, dealing with loose pages is not much harder than dealing with torn ones. The main difference would be the fact that you may have many loose pages to deal with. While you can simply do them all at once, I recommend that they be done one at a time. This will be more time consuming, and take patience, but the end result will be a book you can continue to peruse for years to come. If there are other section of the book where pages are loose, these will need to be done separately.
This first part may sound a bit crazy to my fellow book lovers, but if your pages are dangling half loose from the book, you must first gently pull them the rest of the way out. Lay them aside, but if there are several, be sure to keep them in their proper order.
The remainder of the book should be lying flatly open in front of you. You will need two pieces of wax paper. Place one piece of this on either of the pages between which you have removed the loose pages.
This next part can be a bit tricky, so if you don’t feel comfortable just holding the wax paper down, as I do, you can always clamp it to the pages. You can use paper clips, or large rubber bands to clamp it to both the top and bottom edges of each of the pages it covers. If using paper clips, you will need to clip the wax paper to the page behind it. If using rubber bands, you will need to place the band around each complete side of the book, and over the wax paper.
Next, you simply run your glue stick (or a line of glue, if using glue from a bottle) along the inner edge between the wax paper (the area where your pages need to go). It is better too have too much than too little here, but don’t go too crazy if using glue from a bottle. Now you place your pages, one at a time, in their proper order, into the “slot” where you have placed the glue. Make sure they are straight and even. You may want to double check that they are in their proper order, as well.
If you used paper clips or rubber bands, I would carefully remove them now. This is not always an easy task, which is why I taught myself to do it without them. While these can be left in place as the glue dries, it is better to take them out now so they don’t bend other pages, or leave marks or creases on them.
Close the book, making sure all pages are straight, and your wax paper is securely in place as you do so. I suggest placing something heavy on top of the book, such as more books, as we did with the torn pages. Leave it there overnight, and the next day, your book should once again be in tact.
If, for some reason there are still loose pages, it means you did not use enough glue, and will have to repeat the process. Also, if there were other sections of the book where pages were loose, you will need to repeat the process in those areas. Otherwise, happy reading! In the next part, we will begin to deal with damaged covers.