The UCLA Library Conservation Center keeps the Library's collections usable now and into the future by providing expert care and advice.
UCLA Library formally established a Library Conservation Center in 2004 with the assistance of major funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. This professional Center replaced the former limited book repair unit, where commercial book repair products had been purchased and applied to circulating collection materials. With this Mellon support, UCLA Library hired its first principal museum scientist and began applying the American Institute for Conservation Code of Ethics to any physical intervention in the stabilization and treatment of library and archive materials.
UCLA Library Conservation Center staff provide conservation and consultation services for the UCLA Library community, as well as conservation and consultation services at cost for other UCLA units, other regional UC campuses, and non-profits in southern California.
Library Conservation Center staff document, analyze, house, and treat a wide variety of paper-based circulating and non-circulating UCLA materials. All work maintains structural, aesthetic, and cultural integrity as appropriate. Items we care for range from circulating or reference books, rare books and manuscripts, to maps, and architectural drawings.
In addition, the Preservation Program team provides training for library staff in preservation decision-making, physical care workflow, and materials handling. Assessment regarding preservation and housing needs is available for existing Library collections as well as those about to be acquired.
CONSERVATION TREATMENTS. Conservation treatments physically stabilize damaged or aging materials. Treatments allow continued access to circulating and non-circulating research collections, as well as prepare materials for safe exhibit and digitization. Conservation treatments apply specialized knowledge and techniques to cultural heritage, and involve understanding the physical, aesthetic, and social context of the items created during many time periods and within many cultures. Conservation treatments can be carried out on single high priority items, or carried out in batches of similar items. Treatments are always performed in consultation with curators and collection managers.
- stabilization and aesthetic reintegration for losses and damage to unbound paper items
- stabilization and aesthetic reintegration of losses and damage to bound materials
- humidification, flattening and cleaning of paper and photographs
- removal of old, damaging, non-functioning repairs
- consolidation of flaking or powdery media
- aqueous (i.e. water-based) treatments such as washing, de-acidifying, and lining paper
- construction of new bindings of paper, cloth, leather, or vellum
- stabilization for digitization and exhibit
- mold remediation and specialized cleaning
PROTECTIVE ENCLOSURES. Many items are put into protective enclosures as part of an ongoing program to minimize wear and damage to the collections. These include:
- encapsulations—enclosing materials completely in a protective covering meant to remain in place
- simples and complex boxes—constructing custom-made boxes from sturdy and attractive materials
- portfolios—creating custom portfolios for unbound collections
SERVICES. Other services offered by the Preservation team:
- collections care consulting
- environmental monitoring
- technical analysis of materials
- security consulting
- digitization preparation
- handling practices
- exhibits consultation
- emergency collections care and advising: water, fire, mold, vermin or vandalism.
Internship Opportunities. Every summer the Conservation Center offers a paid, eight-week internship for a student working toward admission to a formal conservation graduate program. Contact the department for application details and deadlines.
Local Conservators. The American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC) maintains a database of conservators in every specialization including book and paper repair. Its website also has a useful page on how to choose a conservator for a collection or for individual item.
Consuela (Chela) Metzger Head, Conservation Center 20 Powell Library Los Angeles, CA 90095 (310) 794-1566 cmetzger at library.ucla.edu Wil Lin Collections Conservator 20 Powell Library Los Angeles, CA 90095 (310) 794-1523 willin at library.ucla.edu