Preservation And Conservation For Libraries And Archives

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  • Nelly Balloffet

    Jenny Hille



    for Libraries and Archives


    CONSERVATIONfor Libraries and Archives



    CONSERVATIONfor Libraries and Archives


    Nelly Balloffet


    Jenny Hille

    Judith Reed, Technical Editor

    Jenny Hille, Illustrator


  • While extensive effort has gone into ensuring the reliability of

    information appearing in this book, the publisher makes no war-

    ranty, express or implied, on the accuracy or reliability of the

    information, and does not assume and hereby disclaims any liabil-

    ity to any person for any loss or damage caused by errors or omis-

    sions in this publication.

    Photographs by Nelly Balloffet, Gwen Denny, and/or Jenny Hille,

    with technical help from Cristina B. Carr, Harald Hille, and Liza

    Wallis (unless otherwise noted)

    Trademarked names appear in the text of this book. Rather than

    identify or insert a trademark symbol at the appearance of each

    name, the authors and the American Library Association state that

    the names are used for editorial purposes exclusively, to the ulti-

    mate benefit of the owners of the trademarks. There is absolutly

    no intention of infringement on the rights of the trademark


    Composition, cover, and text design by ALA Editions

    Printed on 50-pound natural offset, a pH-neutral stock, and

    bound in Arrestox B cloth by McNaughton-Gunn

    The paper used in this publication meets the minimum require-

    ments of American National Standard for Information Sciences

    Permanence of Paper for Printed Library Materials, ANSI Z39.48-


    Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data

    Balloffet, Nelly.

    Preservation and conservation for libraries and archives /

    Nelly Balloffet and Jenny Hille ; Judith Reed, technical editor ;

    Jenny Hille, illustrator.

    p. cm.

    Includes bibliographical references and index.

    ISBN 0-8389-0879-9 (alk. paper)

    1. Library materialsConservation and restoration

    Handbooks, manuals, etc. 2. Archival materials

    Conservation and restorationHandbooks, manuals, etc.

    3. Library materialsStorageHandbooks, manuals, etc.

    4. Archival materialsStorageHandbooks, manuals, etc.

    5. PaperPreservationHandbooks, manuals, etc. 6. Books

    Conservation and restorationHandbooks, manuals, etc.

    7. Library exhibitsHandbooks, manuals, etc. 8. Archives

    ExhibitionsHandbooks, manuals, etc. I. Hille, Jenny.

    II. Reed, Judith A. III. Title.

    Z701.B234 2004

    025.8'4dc22 2003062371

    Copyright 2005 by the American Library Association. All rights

    reserved except those which may be granted by Sections 107 and

    108 of the Copyright Revision Act of 1976.

    Printed in the United States of America

    09 08 07 06 05 5 4 3 2 1

  • Dedicated to

    Judy Reed,dear friend and gentle gadfly

  • vii

    Foreword xi

    Preface xiii

    Acknowledgments xv

    Introduction xvii

    Section 1

    The Basics of Preservation 1Environment 2

    Temperature and Humidity 2

    Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning

    (HVAC) 3

    Coping with Old HVAC Systems 4

    Cold Storage 5

    Monitoring Environmental Conditions 5

    Light 7

    Maintenance and Housekeeping 9

    Education 10

    Basic Rules for Using Research Materials 10

    Staff Training 11

    Patron Education 11

    Disaster Planning and Response 12

    Evacuation of Patrons and Staff 12

    Contingency Arrangements during

    an Emergency 12

    Collection Priorities 12

    General Assessment or Survey 12

    Compile a Disaster Plan 13

    Construction and Renovations 14

    Water Emergencies: The Importance

    of Quick Action 16

    Failure of HVAC System 16

    Mold 17

    Disaster Recovery 19

    Storage Methods 20

    Storage Furniture 20


    Book Storage in Libraries 21

    Book Storage in Archives 23

    Document Storage 23

    Storage of Larger Items 24

    Roll Storage 24

    Framed Art Storage 25

    Off-Site Storage Spaces 26

    Attics, Barns, and Other Unheated Spaces 27

    Summary of Basic Preservation Measures 27

    Procedures to Avoid 27

    Work Flow Charts 29

    Section 2

    Getting Started: Work Space,Equipment, Tools, and Techniques 32

    Setting Up a Work Area for Preservation

    Activities 33

    Dedicated Space 33

    Lighting and Environment 35

    Storage 35

    Office Area 36

    Equipment 36

    Cutters 36

    Presses 40

    Boards, Pressing Boards 43

    Hand Tools 45

    Working Tips 45

    Measuring 45

    Grain Direction 46

    Cutting and Trimming 49

    Scoring and Folding 50

    Using Adhesives 52

    General Working Tips 53

  • Section 3

    Simple Preservation Techniques: Rehousing Library and Archive Materials 54

    Rehousing Library and Archive Materials 55

    Determining What Materials Need

    Rehousing 55

    Preliminary Stages 55

    Counting; Ordering Supplies 56

    Cleaning Materials 56

    Storage Containers (Preservation Enclosures) 57

    Enclosures 57

    Archival? Acid-Free? 58

    Testing New and Old Folders and Boxes

    with a pH Pen 59

    Selecting and Adapting Ready-Made

    Products 60

    Handling Certain Types of Materials 61

    Scrapbooks and Albums 61

    Photographic Materials 61

    Maps, Posters, Architectural Photo-

    reproductions 62

    Making Simple Enclosures 64

    Map Folders 64

    Self-Closing Wrappers: Protection

    for Books 65

    Barrier Sheets; Interleaving 70

    Polyester Encapsulation 71

    Polyester Dust Jackets 72

    Section 4

    Paper Conservation Techniques 75Overview of Western and Japanese Paper 76

    Characteristics of Western Papers 76

    Characteristics of Japanese Papers 77

    Testing Paper for Grain Direction 78

    Testing pH 78

    Photographs 79

    Supplies and Equipment Needed for Paper

    Repairs 79

    Repair Papers 79

    Adhesives 79

    Hand Tools 81

    Equipment 81

    Other Supplies 81

    Techniques for Handling Paper 82

    Preparing Materials before Putting Them into

    Enclosures 82

    Picking Up and Moving Large Flat Items 87

    Paper Repair Techniques 88

    Tearing Japanese Paper 88

    Undoing (Reversing) Repairs Made with Paste

    or Methylcellulose 89

    Mending Edge Tears 89

    Repairing Holes and Missing Corners 90

    Attaching Hinges to Pages 91

    Mending Torn Pages in Books 93

    Mending Tears in Foldout Maps 93

    Section 5

    Book Conservation Techniques 94Brief Review of Bookbinding Structure and

    Terminology 95

    Parts of a Book 95

    Techniques for Handling Books 100

    Removing a Book from the Shelf 100

    Call Number Flags 100

    Opening a Book 101

    Supporting Fragile Books 101

    Packing and Moving Books 102

    Supplies and Equipment Needed for Book

    Repairs 103

    Adhesives 103

    Cloth 104

    Western and Japanese Papers 105

    Boards 105

    Thread 105

    Hand Tools 106

    Equipment 107

    Other Supplies 107

    Book Repair Techniques 107

    Simple Repairs between the Covers 107

    Simple Repairs to the Case 119

    Repairs to the Text Block and the Case 126



  • Pamphlets 144

    Childrens Books 147

    Section 6

    Small Exhibitions 149Designing the Exhibition with Conservation

    in Mind 150

    Environment in the Gallery 150

    Length of the Exhibition 154

    Security 154

    Insurance 154

    Lending and Borrowing 154

    Condition Reports 155

    Mounting an Exhibition 158

    Exhibit Cases 158

    Exhibiting Flat Paper Items 161

    Use Facsimiles Whenever Possible 161

    Rotating Exhibits 162

    Relaxing Rolled Materials 162

    Handling Large Materials 162

    Folded Documents 163

    Mounting, Hinging, Matting, Framing 163

    Window Mats 163

    Mounting Artwork or Documents 166

    Framing 169

    Preparing Books for Exhibition 170

    Simplest Supports 171

    Book Wedges 171

    Polyester-Film Book Supports 178

    Preventing Distortion 179

    Exhibiting Books as Museum Objects 180

    Closing the Show 181

    Removing Materials from the Exhibit 181

    Storage of Exhibit Materials 182

    Think Ahead to the Next Show 182


    A Care of Photographs 183

    B Suppliers, Conservation Binders, and Salvage

    Companies 192

    C Sources of Help and Advice 196

    D Glossary 199

    E Bibliography 204

    Index 209



  • treatment and handling of the varied objects in their

    care, in other words, preservation.

    The authors of this book, Nelly Balloffet and Jenny

    Hille, have both studied bookbinding. Nelly studied with

    Laura Young in New York, and in an internship with

    Carolyn Horton, author of Cleaning and Preserving

    Bindings and Related Materials, a landmark of the

    present-day interest in preservation. Jenny studied in

    New Haven with me in the Conservation Studio of the

    Yale University Library. They both know about the mate-

    rials books are made of, how they are put together, and

    how they are affected by their environment and han-


    Both have earned M.L.S. degrees, Nelly at the

    Columbia University School of Library Science and Jenny

    at Southern Connecticut State University. For some years

    they have given preservation workshops funded by the

    New York State Librarys Discretionary Grant Program.

    Both maintain studios in which they conserve books,

    documents, and prints.

    Nelly is the author of Emergency Planning and

    Recovery Techniques: A Handbook for Libraries, Historical

    Societies and Archives in the Hudson Valley (1999) and

    coauthor (with Jenny Hille) of Materials and Techniques

    for Book and Paper Repair (2001). She collaborated with

    Hedi Kyle and others on a Library Materials Preservation


    In addition to training in this country, Jenny studied

    and taught bookbinding and conservation practices in

    Switzerland for three years. She has also done private

    conservation work and worked in the Yale Library Con-

    servation Studio and is the coauthor with me of

    Headbands: How to Work Them.

    Preservation and Conservation for Libraries and

    Archives is a comprehensive manual covering the preser-

    vation requirements of library and archive materials. It

    treats such subjects as the making of book supports and


    A library has always been considered a special place for

    reading, study, or reference, and librarians have always

    been charged with the care and management of their


    The word library has expanded to include com-

    puter disks, films, documents, works of art, artifacts, and

    more. The duties of librarians have also expanded. They

    now need to include a knowledge of preservation prac-

    tices, and that is what this book is about.

    Libraries have always been treasured and cared for to

    a greater or lesser degree. Their first need, of course, was

    a plan of organization for access. Four millennia ago, in

    Mesopotamia, librarians stored their clay tablets so that

    they would be available for reference. (Clay tablets are vir-

    tually indestructible, so their chief preservation dangers

    were only conquest or pillage.) Over the centuries tablets

    changed to rolls and finally rolls changed to codexes, that

    is, the book format we know today.

    In the Middle Ages preservation mostly consisted of

    chains attached to some books, chiefly in monastic librar-

    ies for security; metal bosses to prevent abrasion of

    leather covers; and before the general use of paper, fasten-

    ings to preserve the parchment contents of books from

    climate changes.

    In the fifteenth century King Matthias Corvinus of

    Hungary had a bookbindery attached to his palace and,

    much before his time, had bookshelves built in his palace

    with curtains to keep out the dust. Books that needed it

    were sometimes rebound.

    In The Enemies of Books, the printer and bibliophile

    William Blades (18291890) wrote: The surest way to

    preserve your books in health is to treat them as you

    would your own children, who are sure to sicken if con-

    fined in an atmosphere which is impure, too hot, too

    cold, too damp, or too dry.

    Todays librarians, curators, and bibliophiles have

    become more and more aware of the need for the proper


  • simple repairs; the materials, tools, and equipment

    needed to perform conservation work; the environmen-

    tal needs of paper and books in storage and out, and on

    exhibition; the education of patrons and staff in conser-

    vation awareness and safe practices; disaster prevention

    and recovery planning; the treatment of materials on

    loan and in transit; and a great deal more. It is well illus-

    trated with drawings by Jenny Hille.

    This book also takes into account the following fact,

    which the authors themselves set forth: Compromise

    and accommodation are always necessary in the real


    Jane Greenfield



  • Institutions with limited staff, equipment, and train-

    ing will find answers to their preservation questions in

    this book. The first section covers the basics of preserva-

    tionenvironment, education, disaster planning and

    response, and storage methods. The book then moves on

    to simple preservation techniques, paper conservation

    techniques, book conservation techniques, and setting up

    small exhibitions. Five appendixes and an index round

    out the book.

    All of the techniques described and illustrated here

    have had extensive testing at the workbench, with con-

    tinuing revision of the procedures taught to students.

    Throughout this book the authors emphasize that while

    all the techniques described are accepted book and paper

    conservation methods, they are a guide for preserving

    working collections and are not intended as instruction

    for the treatment of rare or unique materials.

    After many years as Laura Youngs assistant, I took

    over the operation of her New York City studio where I

    continued to teach and accepted commissions. Since

    1998 I have been employed as conservator at the Frick Art

    Reference Library in New York. My thirty-year involve-

    ment with teaching bookbinding and conservation

    makes me aware of the need for publications like this

    one, which presents sound, well-illustrated techniques in

    an easy-to-follow format. It is especially helpful that all of

    the information on both preservation and conservation is

    available in one volume. As our colleague Judith Reed has

    said, this book is truly a teaching tool for people who


    We are fortunate to have this unique manual which

    reflects so many years of accumulated knowledge, expe-

    rience, and sensitivity in the fields of preservation and


    Jerilyn Glenn Davis


    Preservation and Conservation for Libraries and Archives

    was written in response to the interest expressed in such a

    work by preservation librarians. Research and archival

    collections need special care, and librarians need a

    manual that covers all the aspects of preserving working

    collections. The authors are well qualified for the task.

    Nelly Balloffet, the principal author, has worked in

    libraries and privately in her own conservation studio for

    thirty years. She studied with Laura S. Young in the 1970s

    and worked for Carolyn Horton in the 1980s. Nelly initi-

    ated and ran the workshop program for the Guild of Book

    Workers in the early 1980s. This program ended with the

    growth of regional chapters, and workshops remain the

    major tool for education in specific techniques for prac-

    ticing bookbinders and conservators. Nelly has taught

    various aspects of library preservation throughout her

    career, and has always been generous in sharing her

    knowledge and exchanging ideas with colleagues.

    Jenny Hille trained and worked with Jane Greenfield

    at the Conservation Studio of the Yale University Library

    and at the Centro del Bel Libro in Ascona, Switzerland.

    She served as New York chapter chairman of the Guild of

    Book Workers, a position she held until 1994. In addition

    to twenty-five years experience as a private conservator,

    Jenny also brings her designer knowledge to the book and

    her illustration skills...


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