Do you have an old book, vintage letter or a 1980s Star Wars movie poster at home that you want to properly preserve?
ASU conservator Suzy Morgan carries out this work every day in the ASU Library conservation lab, where she performs in-house treatments and repairs for the library’s circulating collections and many special collections, including the Star Wars collection and the Chicano/a Research Collection.
Morgan will be leading tours of the conservation lab, April 24-25, as part of Preservation Week – a global celebration of a key library function.
For many who take the tour, it will be an introduction into the work of preserving knowledge, both artifactual and textual.
“A conservator has to have a good grasp of not just art, but also science, history and a high level of manual dexterity,” Morgan said. “The best and most challenging part of my work is the problem-solving skills that are required. Each item that comes into the lab has its own unique combination of preservation issues. There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach — each item gets a customized treatment from me and my staff.”
It’s estimated that some 630 million items in collecting institutions such as libraries require immediate attention and care; therefore, the goal of Preservation Week is to raise awareness about the urgency of preservation, why it’s needed and what you can do, individually and as a community, to preserve both shared and personal collections.
During Preservation Week, Morgan will demonstrate how she and her highly trained staff work to repair, revive and bolster vulnerable materials, such as old books, documents and artifacts — ensuring their sustainability for generations to come.
“Our goal is to return the repaired material to our patrons and to specialized library collections as quickly as possible, using the highest quality materials and techniques possible,” Morgan writes.
ASU Library’s Preservation Department was founded in 1987 under the direction of Sharlane Grant, and is located on the first floor of Hayden Library. For more information on preservation services at ASU Library, visit https://lib.asu.edu/preservation.
Group tours of the ASU Library conservation lab will be approximately 45 minutes in length and are scheduled for 1 p.m. Monday, April 24, and 10 a.m. Tuesday, April 25.
Sign up here for the tour of the ASU Library conservation lab during Preservation Week. RSVP is required.
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