Conservation Laboratory

conservation lab

The Special Collections Conservation Laboratory is responsible for the care and treatment of rare books, manuscripts, posters, maps, and other materials in the University Library’s special collections. Working collaboratively with curators and departmental liaisons, the Library’s Conservator and Assistant Conservator participate in short- and long-range planning for conservation, digitization, and exhibition of materials in the Rare Book Collection, Southern Historical Collection, Southern Folklife Collection, North Carolina Collection, and the University Archives.

The conservators advise on preventive conservation at both procedural and policy levels; monitor environmental conditions in the Wilson Library; provide support for digitization projects and installation of exhibits; offer assistance and expertise in the salvage of library materials in the event of disaster; and carry out conservation treatment on materials from the Special Collections. Treatments range from minor to extensive repairs on individual items or groups of materials. All work is done in accordance with the Code of Ethics and Guidelines for Practice of the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works.

The Laboratory employs several student assistants, and advanced interns from graduate conservation programs periodically augment the staff. The conservators are available to consult with faculty and students on questions of history and technology of book structure and interpretation of material evidence. They also provide reference service for conservation questions to academic departments of the University, institutions outside of the University Library, and the general public across North Carolina. The Laboratory does not undertake private work, so members of the public with items in need of conservation should consult the American Institute for Conservation’s guidelines on finding, choosing, and working with a conservator.

The Conservation Laboratory, built with generous donations from University Library supporters, provides a spacious and well-equipped environment in which to carry out the broad range of book and paper conservation treatments demanded by the Library’s rich and diverse collections.

For questions about the Conservation Laboratory services, please contact conservation staff.