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Damaged books and bound archives: a practical approach

This Preservation Advisory Centre/ RLUK training day was held at the British Library Centre for Conservation on 2 March 2010.

Led by accredited conservator, Caroline Bendix, this is a practical training day which develops the skills and knowledge to recognise and understand the causes of damage to books and bound archives. Participants then learn how to minimise damage using cost-effective techniques and take part in a hands-on session which puts some of those techniques into practice.


Why did you attend this training session?

  • To gain some practical hands on experience as well as theory.
  • To equip myself to recognise and hopefully alleviate problems of handling and storage of our collections.
  • Selections/ways of putting together small book cleaning /housing program in on-site libraries.

What did you learn?

  • How to minimise damage; lots of good 'what not to do' advice; Melinex wrapping.
  • More about the causes of damage and what to look out for. Practical skills in tape tying and producing Melinex covers.
  • Practical information about damage and the realisation that I should constantly monitor the condition of items on the shelves.

What will you do differently as a result of attending this training session?

  • More active cleaning and boxing programme for rare books.
  • Prioritize needs more effectively.
  • Training further volunteers and others. Undertake some small but useful stabilising tasks.


09.45 Registration
09.55 Welcome and introductions
10.00 Identification of different types of damage and recognition of the causes
11.00 Break
11.20 Simple steps for minimising damage
11.40 Understanding appropriate treatment options and decision-making for remedial treatment
12.30 Lunch
13.30 Understanding the use of protective enclosures. Practical exercise in tying tape and making melinex wrappers
14.30 Break
14.50 Working with conservators
15.50 Discussion
16.00 End