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Behind the scenes tours of the Conservation Studios

First Thursday of the month, 14.00-15.00

See the work of conservation on a 'behind the scenes' tour of the studios in the Centre for Conservation. These tours, led by British Library conservators, give an insight into the techniques used to care for our collections.

Please read Notes for visitors (PDF format) before your visit.

To book see What's on


British Library / West Dean college partnership Courses 2017

West Dean College has collaborated with the British Library to deliver a programme of courses in preservation and collection care for libraries. The programme focuses on Continued Professional Development and is aimed at professionals, conservation students and others interested in furthering their skills in this area

For booking information please see West Dean short course web pages here


Preventing pests by IPM

David Pinniger
BL27  12 September 2017

Led by David Pinniger, Independent Consultant Entomologist, this one-day workshop provides an introduction to preventing pests through use of integrated pest management. The course is aimed at anyone with any involvement with, or responsibility for care of libraries, archives and collections. Technical handouts will be given to support the course.  This session is limited to only 16 places.

Course objectives:

  • To introduce the main insect pests which attack collections: what they need to live: how to identify them: the damage they cause; ways to prevent them becoming established
  • Understanding pest environments
  • Selecting the most appropriate treatments to control pests
  • Making plans to establish an Integrated Pest Management (IPM) programme.

Cost: £130


Preservation assessment survey workshop

Julia Foster
BL28  26 September 2017

Designed for library and archive staff (no previous knowledge of preservation is required), the workshop introduces a variety of collection survey methods, explains the benefits of carrying out a survey, provides options for selecting a sample and includes a practical session allowing attendees to plan, measure, and compile survey data.

Participants have successfully used the results of collection and condition surveys to support funding bids and to inform internal planning and budgeting for preservation.

Cost: £130


Preserving historic photographs

Susie Clark
BL29 14 November 2017

Photographic collections are found in libraries, archives and museums all over the world. Their sensitivity to environmental conditions, and the speed with which images can deteriorate present special challenges. This one day training session is led by Susie Clark, accredited photographic conservator. It is aimed at those with responsibility for the care of photographic collections regardless of institutional context.

The day provides an introduction to understanding and identifying photographic processes and their vulnerability, information on common conservation problems and solutions, and the preservation measures that can be taken to prolong the life and accessibility of photographic collections. Contact with real examples of different photographic processes is an important feature of this training session which is therefore limited to only 16 places. At the end of the day participants will be able to:

  • identify historic photographic processes
  • explain how damage is caused
  • implement appropriate preservation measures
  • commission conservation work.

Cost: £130


Doing digitisation

Sotirios Alpanis, Rossitza Atanassova, Fiona Clancy, Flavio Marzo, Gayle Whitby, British Library Catt Thompson-Baum, The National Archives
BL30 23 November 2017

Digitisation can increase access to collections, provide surrogates for vulnerable originals, enable virtual reunification of collections or reveal information not available to the naked eye. But how do you know where to start? What type of image should you create, what equipment do you need, how do you prepare items for digitisation?

This training day covers the practical aspects of undertaking digitisation.  It is focused on the digitisation of library and archive materials, though the principles are transferable to other formats. The day includes guidance on image specification and file formats, condition assessments, choosing equipment and file management. It includes a tour of the British Library imaging studios.

Cost: £130

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