Melina Avery


Senior Conservator

Melina Avery

I am a conservator at the library, which means I work in the physical conservation of our collection. Most of the objects I treat are rare books, manuscripts or archival material from the library's Special Collections Research Center, though our lab also works with circulating collections as well as rare collections from all the campus libraries. Conservation, as a field, incorporates history, fine arts and old-fashioned craft, as well as chemistry and material science. Therefore, research in the field may have to do with historic book structures and papermaking as well as understanding how materials interact and age, and how we as conservators can best preserve them.

I am a Professional Associate of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC). You can find more information about conservation and AIC at their website.


Masters of Art Conservation, Queen's University (Kingston, Ontario, Canada)

Bachelor of Arts, Sarah Lawrence College (Bronxville, New York)

Publications and Outreach:

Rebinding a 52-pound Antiphonary (accessible online with AIC login)

Book and Paper Group Annual, Volume 38, 2019

Also presented at the AIC Annual Meeting, 2019

Ozalids and Open Reels: Preservation Problems for 20th Century Music Collections

Music Library Association Annual Meeting, co-presented with Greg MacAyeal, music librarian at Northwestern University Library

The Conservator

University of Chicago undergraduate student film about my work

Under Covers: The Art and Science of Book Conservation

Online version of a physical exhibit, 2013

Ozalids in the Music Library: Life Before Xerox

Book and Paper Group Annual, Volume 31, 2012

Also presented at the AIC Annual Meeting, 2012

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