Conservation is responsible for the physical preservation of the collection. The staff in conservation performs book repairs for circulating collections and high-end single-item treatments for materials from Special Collections.
Located in 1-7 William T. Young Library, the conservation lab is the first combined book and paper lab in a state-assisted university library in Kentucky. Measuring 900 square feet, it is equipped for both basic book repair and high-end conservation treatment. Lab equipment includes a Minter ultrasonic encapsulator, 7' fume hood, Wei T'o freeze dryer/insect exterminator, two stainless steel shallow sinks for paper washing, plus the standard conservation lab equipment such as book presses, board creaser, and board shear.
GENERAL COLLECTIONS CONSERVATION
Conservation performs repairs on circulating collections from across the library system. Our goal is to return damaged materials to usable condition. Care is taken to perform suitable, sympathetic, and long-lasting repairs. We use conservation-quality papers, adhesives, boards, and cloth.
Can UK Libraries fix my book or document? At this time, we are not able to perform conservation treatments for individuals or other institutions. However, we can refer you to a conservator or binder in the area. You might also check the American Institute for Conservation (AIC)'s free referral service. The recommended conservators belong to AIC and agree to abide by a code of ethics. Or you might contact the Conservation Lab (859-218-1937 or Kazuko Hioki) and ask for a list of local and regional conservators and bookbinders.
Why shouldn't I eat and drink around library materials? The aftermath of food and drink consumption is not always noticed immediately. Food crumbs might settle between the pages of a book, providing a food source for a pest, such as a cockroach, beetle, or mouse. Liquid spills may also lead to mold if the temperature and relative humidity conditions in the book stacks provide the correct environment. These pests and mold have the potential to cause health risks in humans. In addition, the stains caused by food and drink may be impossible to remove.
How should I shelve my books? Books are best shelved vertically, with support from a bookend, or lying flat on the bookshelf. Books should not be shelved with the fore-edge (the part opposite the spine) resting on the shelf, since gravity will work to pull the pages of the book out of the binding.
How can I preserve newspaper clippings? Newsprint is inherently unstable paper and is not meant to last. You have probably noticed how quickly newsprint will turn yellow and brittle if left near a source of light. Conservators can give a few suggestions for prolonging the life of a newspaper clipping. If the clipping will be accessed frequently, make a photocopy on archival paper to serve as a "use copy." Place the newspaper clipping in acid-free paper and place in a cool, dry area. Do not store newspaper clippings, or other items you want to save, in the basement or attic. See the Library of Congress' advice.
Is there some sort of product I might be able to put on my leather-bound book to prevent deterioration? In the past, a variety of dressings and gels were used to combat the powdery, red leather that signifies deterioration. However, over time, those substances may actually led to further deterioration. Currently there is no product that can be recommended for home use. Please contact a conservator for further details or see the Library of Congress fact sheet.
Where can I buy conservation supplies? There are quite a few companies that sell products that meet conservation standards. A few are listed below. Listing a particular company does not constitute endorsement.