William L. Clements Library

Preservation and Conservation

Most of the preservation and conservation needs of the Clements Library’s collections are addressed by a small, in-house Conservation Department, staffed by one senior conservator and one part-time student assistant. The conservators service all types of collections materials, including books, maps, manuscripts, prints, and photographs. Priorities for conservation are established in consultation between the conservator and the division curators based on the research or artifactual value of the individual item. Treatments vary from paper mending and construction of custom enclosures to complete rebinding of books.

The Conservation Department is also responsible for mounting the Library’s exhibits and for the general shelf care of the collections, including space concerns, shelving, environmental issues, surveys, shelf reading, and the shifting of collections.

The Library’s conservator promotes knowledge and awareness of preservation and conservation practices through presentations, tours, and networking with the community and local schools. She teaches conservation skills and treatments to student assistants and to a limited number of volunteers.