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HEFEI -- Everyday, 29-year-old Jin Xin restores centuries-old books, a job that seems mysterious to most of his peers.
Staring at the badly-torn paper, Jin meticulously dampens and smooths the wrinkled scraps of paper with a wet writing brush and then pieces them together with tweezers.
"This book was written during the reign of Emperor Daoguang of the Qing Dynasty, almost 200 years ago. It has severely deteriorated with age and is very brittle," Jin said. "You can never be too careful when repairing it."
Jin is one of five staff who works at the ancient books preservation laboratory in the provincial library of east China"s Anhui Province. Aged from 26 to 34, these young "book doctors" have devoted themselves to repairing ancient books, giving them a second life with their hands.
They all graduated from Jinling Institute of Technology in Nanjing, Jiangsu Province, the first college in China offering ancient books restoration as a major, starting in 2007.
"My father is an antique collector. I grew up with a passion for old books," Jin said.
To be a qualified ancient book restorer, they learned ancient Chinese language, framing techniques, woodblock printing and so on.
According to a survey conducted by the National Library of China, there were less than 100 professional ancient book restorers nationwide before 2007, making it an endangered craft.
Things were turned around when China initiated an ancient books preservation campaign in 2007. Till now, 25 national-level ancient book restoration training institutes have been established, and more than ten colleges and universities are offering related courses.
Repairing ancient books is like treating patients. Restorers need to understand the "diseases" of different books and then prescribe the right medicine, said Geng Ning, a 31-year-old book restorer in the laboratory.custom rubber wristbands canadanike rubber braceletsrubber bracelets24 hour wristbandsrubber bracelets canada