|Photo by: Melissa Proulx|
The TeamsThere are several teams working within the center, all with unique jobs but all devoted to the work of keeping book treasures safe and usable for future generations.
Their Preservation Advisement Center contains a small, but highly dedicated team, of librarians and archivists who help to share methods and practices with other libraries to help them educate their own staff on matters of conservation.
The British Library does a great deal of Intervention Conservation, running repairs, and preparing items for exhibition.
The Conservation Science Research Department works on storage, pests, guidelines and environmental monitoring for the library.
They manage conservation both for those materials in the library and those in storage far away. The storage items are kept in a chamber with no more than 15% oxygen which prevents, pests, fires, and other problems that could destroy the books. For those books in danger of being destroyed or falling apart the studio will assess and then decide which books they will work on repairing. The process is vigorous and highly skilled, using binding skills, chemistry knowledge and artistry to preserve and restore books to as perfect a condition as modern technology allows. The studio is brightly lit, clean, and contains a number of work stations each with their own tasks and conservator.
Conservation is an area that I believe all library students, not just archivists, should be aware of and so I felt very lucky to have had this be the final tour of the visit. Librarians are responsible for the care of book from its acquisition in the library until it leaves, to end with conservation felt only fitting.
|Bench at the British Library: Photo by Melissa Proulx|