A few months ago, a book from the Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery Library came for treatment to the Book Conservation Lab: Home Life in Tokyo. Our copy, printed in 1911, is a softback binding, common for Japanese publications, and according to the bibliographic record, it was “issued in a portfolio.” The book itself was in very good condition, however, after many years of protecting the soft-backed book, more »
A book, The Flying Spy, from the National Air and Space Museum Library came to the Book Conservation Lab with a unique, though not exactly rare, problem: Pest Damage. As book lovers and good library patrons, we all know the importance of the proper handling of books. For example, we know to store them properly (up off the floor, away from damp conditions), handle them gently, and to not eat nor more »
Older hardcover books within the Smithsonian Libraries’ circulating collections often contain unique information which serve staff and patrons over the course of many years. With age and use, these items sometimes begin to break along the hinges. The book cloth becomes frayed, torn, or cracked and the spine piece may separate completely from the boards. This damage necessitates a repair which will conserve and recreate the original binding structure as much as more »
Fold-out plates are often used to feature important illustrations or diagrams in many books related to science, technology, and history. Though a fold-out is designed to be frequently folded and unfolded, the stress on the creased fold lines from constant handling often causes the paper to break.
In anticipation of Smithsonian Libraries’ participation in this year’s Museum Day Live events on Saturday March 12th, we wanted to highlight Library Preservation work at the Book Conservation Lab here at Smithsonian Libraries, and draw attention to the varied interests and skills that are inherent to Preservation work and are important and driving forces in preserving library collections for the future.
The Book Conservation Lab often receives items that require new sewing or new adhesive on the text block as part of their treatment. Infrequently, an item arrives that has been bound atypically and extraordinary repair measures are needed.
Many books within the various general collections of the Smithsonian Libraries arrive at the Book Conservation Lab in need of similar treatment. Though the several collections in the Natural History Museum Libraries are largely filled with science related items, some reveal aspects of the natural world through artistic and literary presentations. Recently, a book of this type, entitled The Poetry of Nature, selected and illustrated by Harrison Weir and published in 1868, more »
Support the Libraries