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An old Bible gets a second chance
Sometimes, all a worn family Bible needs is a new binding
Velina and Grady White, from left, and Royce Winters give their bibles to Jack Kyle of The National Library Bindery Company. Kyle's company will restore the binding, and comes to the main branch of the Hall County Library every year to provide the service. - photo by Robin Michener Nathan


The Rev. Royce Winters talks about the importance of the family Bible.

For many, the family Bible is an important part of history. In some cases the holy book - which holds birth dates, deaths and possibly a family tree - is the only way to track family lineage.

So when that old book begins to deteriorate, there are ways to refurbish the cherished antique.

Simply send the Bible to a bindery.

"Anything that people have in way of a book or Bible, usually we can take them and put them into a bound volume," said Jack Kyle, a representative from The National Library Bindery Company of Georgia, Inc. in Roswell. "The No. 1 item is the Bible, cookbooks. One of the things that we can do sometimes is picture albums ... we do magazines, we can bind them into a bound volume."

Kyle made his way to Gainesville recently for the Hall County Library System's 35th annual Bible and Old Book Repair Day.

The Rev. Grady White and his wife Velina came to the event to get some old Bibles repaired. Velina brought two Bibles to the library - neither one is a family Bible but they are just as important.

"This is the first Bible that I gave him and I think it was in 1963," said Velina, a Rabbittown resident. "I gave it to him for his first Sunday as a pastor."

The other Bible the couple brought was not quite as old but had been damaged in a car accident on Valentine's night in 2001, Grady said.

Grady was pastor at several local churches over the years, including Eastview Baptist on Old Cornelia Highway, Freedom Baptist in Cumming and Crossroads Baptist in Clermont.

Longtime friend of the Whites, the Rev. Royce Winters also brought a Bible in disarray to the event.

"My daughter and granddaughter bought it for me ... I liked it and it just felt good," Winters said of the book given to him five or six years ago. "You get used to reading in a Bible, you mark certain places and so forth."

Winters said a Bible begins to be very personal to you and is an important part of being a pastor.

"You read something and you might not remember the chapter and verse but you might remember if something is on one side of the page, it almost comes natural," Winters said.

He did add that the family Bible is an important part of many families, as well as his own.

"Back in the days ... they didn't really have a birth certificates," said Winters, the pastor at Double Springs Baptist Church in Cornelia. "They had to go back to the family Bible and when they had to go back for Social Security. For instance, when the tornado came through in 1936 it just destroyed everything."

It cost about $35 to get Winters' Bible repaired, and the book will be available in about two months.

"The kind of work that I do here is really based on the condition of the book I'm doing," Kyle said. "Our bread and butter work is libraries and we do professional journals for libraries and books for colleges and universities."

Over Kyle's 43 years in the bindery business he has picked up the trade himself and has a bindery in his backyard, The Woodstock Book Bindery in Woodstock.

"It's really time consuming and it takes a while to learn how to do these things because the books come in so many different conditions," he said.