Conroy talks about books the way a caring doctor talks about his patients. He has been repairing and restoring books of all kinds for nearly 40 years, specializing in volumes with sentimental value or those "with a story." Have a third-generation children's book with a broken spine? A lectern-size family Bible with a missing cover? A 19th-century cookbook with torn pages? Conroy's your man. He's unapologetic about his philosophy of responding to the needs of the book rather than the needs of the customer. He described getting angry at a customer who asked him to remove some pages from a 19th-century text in order to sell reprints at antique shows. Chop up a beautiful old book to sell its pages? Better to ask a surgeon to kill someone for his appendix! Conroy "had some words" with the gentleman and showed him the door. Nor is he very fond of deadlines. Every book is unique and requires its own individual course of treatment. If you want your one-of-a-kind book to last for generations, it's got to be done right. And that takes time.
Taurus Bookbindery, 368 San Carlos (at 21st Street), 824-9754