Friday, June 20, 2014


The University Libraries has a broad collection of items ranging from books, art books, scrapbooks, pamphlets, photographs, manuscripts and maps, all them in a variety of formats and accessible to the public. When they arrive at the Preservation Services for treatment, consideration is given to where it will be housed and who will be the final user. In some instances there is a need for unique and creative design, within a conservation mindset, in order to treat that object for our students and patrons use.

The Soil Survey and Maps of North Carolina Counties collection, with dates ranging from 1900’s to 1935’s, are individual pamphlet bindings with a map attached  with a hinge at the back. The pamphlet sizes are around 6 in. x 9 ¼ in., originally bound with metal staples, with the maps varying in size approximately 60 in. x 60 in.. They are all folded several times to fit into the back of the pamphlet. When they were originally processed by the library many years ago, they were assembled using commercial pamphlet binders with an interior cloth hinge impregnated with water activated animal glue.  

These large maps were difficult to open due to the manner in which they were attached to the pamphlet. Through the years and the usage in the library, some of these pamphlets and maps were badly damaged, showing several signs of paper stress, large tears, small losses and weakness on their folded areas, especially close to the gutter where they were attached.

As part of their restoration, heat set tissue was the medium used to consolidate the text folios and Japanese Paper Matsuo Kozo 16 g. was used on the covers. They were sewn together in a pamphlet style through a folded hinge using the same cloth that was used to cover the outer boards.

In order to make the maps more easily accessible by our students and patrons, they were separated from the back of the pamphlet, treated with heat set tissue and housed in a four flap enclosure, custom made for each one individually. We decided that this procedure would  better preserve the integrity of each map, allowing it to be opened, on a large surface, rather than keeping it in it’s original format, attached to the back of their original pamphlet.

Thinking beyond this point, and having in mind the final binding structure, we opt to have the four flap structure made to the same size of each pamphlet, as you can see below.

The final result is a solid case construction, in a book format, covered with conservation book cloth, with a laser printed paper protected with Klucel G, one on the spine and another one on the last fold of the four flap enclosure. Giving stability to their content as well as being preserved in a friendly user way for our patrons.

Monday, May 5, 2014

How To Open a Book...

Be gentle with books. 
Treat them well and they will serve you a lifetime.
Yours...and for generations after.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


ALA Preservation Week is a nationwide event held in many libraries across the country every year. The intent of this event is to connect communities through promoting and creating awareness on how to handle and care for collections in general.

The University Libraries, at UNCG, is participating in this journey with the support of the Preservation Lab. On the week of April 28 to May 2, 2014 we are having a few events, at Jackson Library, focusing on preservation and conservation of our collections. From a small exhibit on conservation procedures in the main lobby and the "Take A Look, Grab a Book" point, in front of the main desk, with books about preservation and conservation ; to an open Preservation Lab tour, where you will be able to ask us questions regarding your personal collection and what we do here.

Below is the schedule and the details for that week:



You will see several types of enclosures we create and build at the Preservation Lab; they go from the simplest phase boxes to those with a more complex design to house a specific book or artifact.  Browse some of our books and the conservation treatment performed, including restoration. 

If you enjoyed what you saw and want to learn more, you can go to the next point of our preservation week tour and grab a book from our collection at the:

Take A Look, Grab a Book display near the Access Services desk

Browse some of the titles we picked at Jackson Library especially for you about bookbinding, books about books, conservation and preservation!

Last but not the least, the last point of the tour,  visit our Preservation Lab, where we do "magical things" like a patron said to us one time. All are welcome, students, staff and patrons, to visit and ask us a question and see, ‘in loco’, our space, the tools and materials we use and what we have been working on. 

Preservation tour hours and days:

Monday - April 28th 2014, from 10 am to 12 noon.
Tuesday - April 29th 2014, from 10 am to 12 noon.
Thursday - May 1st, 2014, from 10 am to 12 noon.
Friday - May 2nd, 2014, from 10 am to 12 noon.

Useful links

ALA Preservation Week
Preservation at Your Library
University Products – Preservation and Conservation Products

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Special Items = Special Boxes

Preservation Services receives some quite unique and interesting items that beg for special housing.

We gladly comply.

We recently received this wonderful panorama of London, produced as a scroll and needing support and protection.

Friday, January 3, 2014

A Good Start

To a New Year.  Building. Designing. Enjoying.

In the Preservation Department we enjoy creating enclosures for unusual and interesting items that need protection when housed on the shelf.

 This recent acquisition needed a box to help contain the straps and protect the image attached to the front.  Its structure leaves it open at the top and bottom so this clamshell will keep particulates in the air from landing within its interior, giving this item a micro environment for extended preservation.

Thursday, December 5, 2013


As book lovers and conservationists we don’t like to remove original bindings. We work hard in the Preservation Room trying to save as many books as possible from a new binding and restoring them to their original aspect whenever it is possible.
Many times we don’t have a choice other than to remove the original covers as the extent of the damage, or massive use, has made the book unable to return to our stacks. Thus, we have been carefully rebinding them in a stronger conservation cloth (Linen Buckram), in several different colors, not only giving our books a new life but our patrons an almost new book.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Washing and Cleaning Pages

Sometimes in the course of a book's life, it is necessary to disassemble its pages, remove it's covers and separate the signatures, and removing old threads from the original stitching.

Pages are placed in trays for cleaning with water and isopropyl alcohol.

After several washings, and when the water remains clear, the pages are deacidified and placed on racks for drying and resizing whenever needed.

Once these processes are complete, the book will be reunited, sewn and settled into its newly renovated covers.