At the heart of the library are the collections in all physical and digital formats. Our conservation team cares for the physical collections, which number some 150 million items, from all cultures dating from 3000 BCE to the present day. The collections include a wide array of material types including paper, parchment, photographs, leather, papyrus, wood, textile, ceramic, metal.
The work of our conservation experts allows the collection to be used and preserves it for as long as possible. We do this with preventive techniques, hands on treatment of individual items, assessing and preparing items for digitisation, non-destructive scientific analysis and imaging techniques.
Read our position paper and strategic direction 2017-20 (PDF format) for more details on our conservation methods and activities. You can also come on a tour of our conservation studios to find out more.