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Technical Services > Preservation > Preventive Preservation Services

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Preventive Preservation
While there is always demand for preservation attention to single item needs, be it reformatting, rebinding, or conservation treatment, there is an equal need to protect entire collections from unnecessary damage and premature deterioration. These preventive measures include: providing a sound, stable, and secure environment for collection storage; maintaining SULAIR's collection emergency and recovery plan; assisting with collection moves; and offering preservation education for staff and patrons.

Environment
The environment in which collections are stored has a direct impact on their longevity. It is well known that high levels of heat, humidity, or light will greatly increase the deterioration of library materials. Preservation staff establish environmental specifications for specific library storage areas and media. Using data loggers that record temperature and humidity, the Department monitors collection areas and works closely with Facilities staff to maintain a stable environment. The Preservation Department is currently participating in an important international field trial conducted by the Image Permanence Institute to test a sophisticated environmental monitoring instrument.

It is important that collections are stored in an environment free of pests and dirt. Good housekeeping together with restrictions on food and drink in library collection storage, processing, and reading areas, go a long way toward discouraging the presence of insects as does monitoring collection areas for pests on a regular basis.

Library materials are particularly susceptible to damage caused by light. The active exhibition program in the Bing Wing's Peterson Gallery and Munger Rotunda requires that Conservation staff work closely with SULAIR exhibition staff to protect library materials from stress imparted by their display. Similarly, when materials are requested by another institution to be loaned for exhibition, Conservation staff assist Special Collections staff overseeing the loan by evaluating the institution's facilities and assessing whether the condition of a requested item or items is strong enough to withstand travel and exhibition.

Whenever a portion of the Library undergoes renovation, or when a new library or collection storage area is constructed, Preservation staff assist Facilities staff by providing environmental guidelines for HVAC and lighting as well as input on selection of shelving and other building materials.

Emergency Preparedness and Response
Sadly, in times past, the Library's collections have been subjected to damage by flooding, so we know from experience how important it is to be prepared should an emergency strike in the form of fire, flood, or earthquake. Measures are in place throughout SULAIR to ensure a quick response to any collection emergency: collection areas are fitted with fire suppression systems; library units are outfitted with emergency supplies; and the Preservation Department maintains the Collections Emergency Response Manual which includes a call list, technical information about recovery of collections by media type, and a list of local and national resources to call upon in an emergency.

Among the Preservation Department's array of facilities is a large freezer that serves two critical purposes: 1) It is used in the recovery of books and other paper-based materials subjected to water-related disasters; and 2) It is employed when materials are discovered to be infested with pests, such as silverfish. Freezing temperatures destroy the damage-causing creatures and their larvae.

To learn more about emergency response procedures at SULAIR, see Disaster Preparation and Response.

Collection Moves
The Library's collections are dynamic; as the collections grow and develop, large quantities of materials are frequently relocated. In order to minimize the impact of these changes on the materials, we collaborate with SULAIR staff throughout the organization to plan and implement collection moves, such as the recent relocation of the East Asian Library from the Hoover Institution to Meyer Library.

Staff and Patron Education
Library staff and patrons share the responsibility with Preservation and Facilities staff for ensuring long-term access to SULAIR's collections. The goal of preservation education is to raise awareness about the causes of deterioration to collection materials in all formats and to recommend individual actions to reduce or eliminate harm to collections.

 

 

Last modified: November 3, 2006
   
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