In the Conservation Laboratory, complex conservation treatments are performed on bound books and flat paper items from special collections.
Conservation treatments for rare books, bound manuscripts, periodicals and pamphlets include: repairing existing bindings wherever possible to preserve original historical objects; dis-binding and re-sewing text blocks; repairing signatures; and creating new bindings in leather, cloth, parchment, vellum, and paper. Paper conservation treatments for maps, manuscripts, prints, posters, architectural drawings, broadsides, drawings and ephemera include: washing and de-acidifying paper; mending tears and filling losses; and lining large sheets of paper.
To prevent damage to library materials, we build custom-sized protective enclosures such as clamshell boxes, four-flap wrappers, cloth portfolios and Mylar encapsulations. The Conservation Laboratory is a 1500 square foot facility in two rooms. There are four workbenches for bookbinders, four large mobile tables for paper treatments, six metal and wooden book presses, and a tooling bench for titling and decorating bindings using our extensive collection of bookbinder's finishing tools.
The specialized equipment found in the Conservation Laboratory includes:
- Fume hood for solvent treatments, including stain reduction, mold remediation, and tape removal. Large stainless steel sink with water filtration system for washing and de-acidifying paper
- HEPA vacuum system for cleaning of soiled or moldy books.
- Digital camera and mobile camera stand for in-situ photo-documentation of repairs, and a computer database in which each conservator records work done on special collections materials.
- Flexible fiber optic light-sheet and ultraviolet lamp for the examination of paper documents.
- A leaf-caster for replacing missing sections of damaged sheets of paper.
- A suction table for water and solvent treatments of paper, including washing and stain reduction.
- A paper drying rack that can accommodate an entire book at a single time.
- An ultrasonic welder for creating polyester film encapsulations of fragile paper documents.