Recommended Read: "He Fixes the Cracked Spines of Books..."
From The New York Times, by Kirk Johnson, an article about Donald Vass of Seattle, "who has spent the last 26 years mending and tending to books for the King County Public Library system" in the Seattle, Washington, area. "He believes he will be the last full-time traditional bookbinder ever to take up shears, brushes and needles here." Great article on a man dedicated to the love of books and the art of repairing them, both for the public library system and even some patrons who track him down and ask him to save a treasured volume.
What happens to worn out old books? Many, perhaps most, get tossed into the trash bin. Some are shelved in an archive or on a dusty old shelf. But some get mended to live a longer life, to be read another "day." With the surge in ebooks and the ease of finding used books on the Internet, there is less "need" to repair the old and worn out. Still, in some places with the right finances, the will remains to repair and maintain what may be saved.