Conservation Lab: Education

Man handling fragile book on a pillow.

Handling of Library Collections

The Library staff is trained by conservators to handle materials properly and to detect physical problems with the Collections. Damaged items are immediately brought to the Conservation Lab for evaluation.


Photocopying of materials is done by trained Library personnel on a Minolta PS7000 photocopier, allowing books to be copied face up at a gentle angle with little pressure on the books. For more information, see Reprographics.

Interlibrary Services

Books requested through the RLG Shares Program are evaluated by conservators to determine if they are in suitable condition for interlibrary loan. For more information, see Interlibrary Loans.


To encourage people interested in the field of book and paper conservation, interns are received on a limited basis. Participants are given practical experience in a variety of preservation issues and conservation treatments. The Chief Conservator is on the advisory board of the Wells Book Arts Center at Wells College in Aurora, New York. For more information, see Internships.


The Conservation Department plans, designs, and installs Library exhibitions under the direction of the Library’s Research Program. Custom cradles and supports are constructed in-house and facsimiles of images are printed in the Digital Imaging Lab.


The department designs the Library's exhibition brochures, bookplates, signage, invitations, and brochures for events. Special publications produced in the Lab include edition bindings of Charles Ryskamp and Friends: A Bibliography (1999) and Selected Letters from Vincent to Brooke Astor (2001), a portfolio of facsimile letters bound in silk cloth.

Conservation Library

The Department has an extensive library on topics related to the conservation and preservation of books, paper, photographic media, and digital imaging. Currently the library contains more than 260 titles and 35 periodical subscriptions available through the library catalog.

Memberships and Affiliations

The Conservation Department maintains memberships in the American Institute for Conservation, the Guild of Book Workers, the International Institute for Conservation, the Institute of Paper Conservation, and the International Association of Book and Paper Conservators. Conservators actively participate in these organizations.

Charles Ryskamp
Selected Letters from Vincent to Brooke Astor