Exploring the Work of Book Conservators
Enter the nuanced world of the book conservator. To the layperson, book conservation suggests book repair: taking a book that has been damaged through age, use, or accident, and fixing it so that it can go back into service. But conservators look at a damaged book and see not only the physical damage, but the story the book itself has to tell. The goal: to retain as much of the book’s physical history as possible, while making it strong enough to continue as a resource.
The expertise book conservators develop in book history and material science allows them to interpret clues and perform historically and culturally sympathetic repairs. Changes that occur during a book’s life—from creation to collection, use, and repair—create a record of its unique history. Owners’ marks, annotations, dog-eared pages, rebinding, and other interventions reflect the communities that the book has been a part of.
Join us for a look between the covers, at the paper, binding–and the stories that books reveal to a trained eye. From the beginnings of conservation through the Florence flood of 1966, to modern techniques and the tools of the conservator’s workbench, this exhibit provides a window into what it takes to preserve the story of a book.
Kimberly Kwan, Book Conservator, Stanford Libraries
Elizabeth Ryan, Book Conservator, Stanford Libraries
Michelle C. Smith, Book Conservator, San Francisco Public Library