Under Covers: The Art and Science of Book Conservation

This exhibit was curated by Melina Avery, Conservator at the University of Chicago Library.

Book Conservation is an essential component of a comprehensive program to protect and preserve library collections for current and future use by scholars. This exhibit takes a close look at the scientific aspects of conservation and the treatment of collections. We begin with a definition and overview of conservation and explore some modern materials and reproduction techniques from the 20th and 21st centuries that pose special treatment challenges for conservators. We then look at many condition issues and processes of deterioration in older library collections from as early as the 12th century: insect damage and mold, aging leather and thread, and flaking or corrosive inks and pigments. We end by highlighting important conservation science research that contributes new means of analysis, treatment techniques and better solutions to preserve collections.

This exhibit coincides with the American Library Association's Preservation Week (April 21-27, 2013).