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Last spring, the UCLA Library Preservation & Conservation Department opened its secure laboratory to the Bruin community for the first time as part of National Preservation Week. Students, faculty, staff and the local Bruin community attended the open house, which included a guided tour and a bookbinding demonstration. Visitors were shown the creative methods and state-of-the-art technology used to preserve the rare and often valuable materials stewarded by UCLA Library. Historic books, maps, architectural plans, audio tapes, video and film were on display. UCLA Library staff also highlighted threats to these materials and introduced methods to minimize these challenges.

Established in 2004, the Preservation & Conservation Department ensures Library materials are accessible now and into the future. The department’s crucial work ranges from repairing unique primary sources to preparing materials to be digitized.

Lithograph stone with tools for paring leather, from left: a spokeshave, paring knife, and strop.

Student employee, Gabrielle Norte, scans 16mm film from UCLA Men’s Basketball practice drills (1965–66) with then student-athlete Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Paper Conservator, Devin Mattlin discusses book conservation treatments.

Paper Conservator, Devin Mattlin demonstrates the layered transparent paper used to update modernist architect Richard Neutra’s plans and explains why these delicate materials require safer storage systems.

Analog media formats and equipment.

A deteriorated lacquer disc audio recording.