The Preservation Department includes a conservation lab with conservators and technicians who perform a broad range of conservation treatments.
In-house conservation services are aimed at preserving both general and special collections as well as providing support for a dynamic program of exhibits and outreach.
General collections conservation is driven largely by circulation, with damaged items being identified as they are returned through Circulation Services. Regular meetings with library selectors guarantee that non-circulating items such as reference materials or other subsets of the general collection are being maintained in good condition as well.
A conservation point system is used to manage the conservation treatment of special collections. Recently completed projects include:
- the conservation of a Franz Liszt manuscript for the Music LIbrary;
- the treatment of a collection of early 14th to early 17th century parchment manuscripts;
- the rehousing of a collection of Mesopotamian clay tablets;
- the assessment, repair and encapsulation of a unique collection of protest posters from the1968 Paris student riots;
- the treatment of the Bay of Bengal Atlas (c. 1780), a series of maps of the Bay of Bengal bound in a rare and previously undocumented atlas binding structure.
The conservation lab is located on the lower level of the University Library and was made possible by a generous donation which established the Margaret Clover Symonds Preservation Endowment. Repairs to volumes from the general collection carry a bookplate commemorating this significant gift.