Don Hampshire was the Head Binder at Canterbury Public Library for 21 years. His death on December 24, 2009, ends a life devoted to the craft of book binding. Don was a popular member of staff who was appointed to head the Bindery in 1966. He remained in the job until his retirement in 1987. Don learnt his trade in England and had been a bookbinder since 1938. When he took up the position in 1966 the rapid growth of the library saw the bindery move from the main building to the ground floor of the Librarian’s house next door. When the Central Library moved across the river to Gloucester Street in 1982 the bindery was installed in an airy corner of the third floor (the site of the current staffroom). They were also the proud possessors of a brand new guillotine.
Don will be known to many people in Christchurch for the classes he ran for keen amateur book binders. An article in the Press earlier this year by June Peka describes how Don had students who were still coming to Sunday morning sessions at his Redcliffs home, how he was working with a young Chinese woman as an apprentice and was still undertaking skilled bindery work at the age of 86.