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Preservation and Conservation at Yale University Library: Home

Guide to the activities, policies and general information about the Preservation & Conservation Services Department at the Yale University Library

Preservation and Conservation at Yale University Library

To report a collections-affecting emergency in a library location, please dial 475-301-4519 (anytime day or night).

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Preservation is a universal field with many facets: it reaches local communities and international entities; it employs skills and expertise across many disciplines; it utilizes low tech and high tech solutions.  Preservation is carried out by conservators, historic preservationists, librarians, policy makes, scientist, historians, teachers, activists, and many others. Preservation is generally organized around three major goals: preventing damage and managing risk, conserving physical artifacts and objects, and reformatting and managing at-risk content and new media formats.

Our Mission

The Yale University Library's Preservation and Conservation Services Department supports the Library's mission by ensuring continued access to collections, through a program of specialized expertise, proactive stewardship and collaboration.


What is Preservation?

In libraries and archives, the term preservation is usually used to refer to any and all activities that prolong the useable life of collections and objects. Preservation can include a variety of preventative and remedial measures, like environmental control, reformatting, conservation and digital content migration, that address deterioration, damage and mitigate the effects of time and continued use.  In museums, many preservation actions, like monitoring environments, disaster planning, handling instruction and protective housing, are called preventative conservation.

At the the Yale University Library, we often use "preservation" to characterize activities, strategies and programs that involve significant format change, migration to a new medium, or emulation of an experience to prolong the use and life of collection. We use "conservation" to describe our work and programs of preventative care for physical objects with the objective of maintaining the original format, feel, and use with only as much alteration as is needed.



Announcements and News

Preservation & Conservation

Contact Us:

Director, Preservation & Conservation Services

Christine McCarthy


Senior Administrative Assistant

Rebecca Haep


Operational Units

Conservation and Exhibition Strategies - Brenna Campbell, Associate Director

Preservation Digital Strategies - Shira Peltzman, Associate Director

Picturing Preservation

Images of conservation studio in Sterling Memorial Library circa 1980

The di Bonaventura Family Digital Archeology and Preservation Laboratory

The di Bonaventura Family Digital Archeology and Preservation Lab supports the technological needs of digital material from general and special collections across Yale University libraries and museums.

Commerical Binding Preparation Team at Work

Ellen Zemina and Susan Mar prepare serial issues and damaged volumes for rebinding through a commercial vendor that adheres to preservation standards.

A "Medieval Manuscript" Thank You

Students from the 5th grade at the Hooker School in New Haven made a thank you manuscript for conservators and technicians who spent an afternoon showing the students how books were made in the Middle Ages.

Matting and Framing

Exhibition staff work on matting and framing for an upcoming Beinecke Library exhibition.

Returning to On-Campus Operations

University PPE issued to department staff returning to on-campus work in September 2020.

Audio-Visual Reformatting Lab

Ron Sutfin is back at work in the inhouse AV reformatting lab, socially distance and masked!

Digital Preservation System Interdependencies and Collections

Our digital preservation system, Preservica, is now part of a growing eco-system of digital collecting and access.

Virtual Conservation Consultation

Staff at Lewis Walpole Library discuss condition concerns for a volume with a conservator who is working from home during the covid-19 pandemic.

Preservation in a Pandemic

Preservation Assistant, Jordan Revelo back working on site with commercial binding shipments.

Preservation in a Pandemic: Preservation Review

Preservation Librarian, Tara Kennedy reviews damaged circulating collections returned to the Library during the early months of the pandemic.

Preservation in a Pandemic: Treating Collections for Digital Imaging

Conservation Technician, Karen Jutzi, removes damaging and disfiguring tape from an oversized map so that it can be scanned for faculty use in the fall semester.

Preservation in a Pandemic: Scanning

Digital Imaging Librarian, Anu Paul, working on-site with the department's special collections scanning service.

Preservation in a Pandemic: Exhibitions

The exhibitions team pivoted production to create online version of the student-curated exhibitions planned for the spring and fall of 2020 when the pandemic made physical installation challenging.

All Preservation & Conservation LibGuides