About Us

Preservation Unit 
425 Library, MC-522
UIUC Library
1408 West Gregory Dr.
Urbana, IL 61801

Conservation Lab 
Oak St. Library Facility
OSLF, 2nd Floor
809 South Oak Street
Mail Code 527
Champaign, IL 61820

Upcoming and Past Events

1st Biennial UIUC Conservation Colloquium: Adhesives in Library and Archives

On Friday November 7th 2014 University of Illinois’s Conservation Laboratory held its first biennial colloquium. This one-day event was held at the IHotel free of charge to conservators, affiliated professionals and interested students.  The event was funded by University of Illinois’s Dean of Libraries and organized by the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Senior Conservator, Cher Schneider. The colloquium focused on conservation and preservation issues of adhesives used and found in library and archives collections and covered history, science, degradation and practical conservation issues with adhesives found in PVAs and pressure-sensitive tapes as well as those used on leather and photographs. Four presenters came for this day event: C. Velson Horie, Elissa O’Loughlin, Sarah Reidell, and Gawain Weaver. 

For a detailed synopsis of the advent please visit: http://henryhebert.net/2015/01/28/adhesives-in-library-and-archives-a-colloquium-review/#content-wrapper written by Henry Hébert, University of Illinois Library, Rare Book Conservator

Following the colloquium a survey was taken, 43/50 attendees responded. There was an overwhelming positive response to the colloquium with a 4.6 rating out of 5. Each of the speakers had an exceptional rating including a high interest in their topics that related to attendees field and professional development.

Please follow up in late summer of 2016 when another event will be posted by the UIUC Conservation Laboratory to be held in fall 2016.  The UIUC conservation Laboratory is looking into the potential of a smaller colloquium that may include a multiple day workshop.


PVAs in Conservation (Velson Horie): Poly(vinyl acetate) PVAC and poly(vinyl alcohol) PVAL are well established materials used on paper-based materials conservation. The base polymers (but not necessarily the commercial products) have been shown to be stable over decades. However, manufacturers produce a huge number of grades and formulations from which we need to choose the most appropriate for each object.  The criteria for choosing may be color, polymer strength, flexibility, viscosity of solution (or dispersion), resolubility etc.  These properties are the result of the monomer composition, molecular weight, glass transition temperature, formulation, solvent composition, aging etc.  The presentation will tease out how these separate factors contribute to the properties and use of the added material.

Pressure Sensitive Tape Adhesives (Elissa O'Loughlin): Pressure sensitive adhesive products have been used on cultural heritage materials since their introduction in the 1930s. How did the use of tape in libraries and archives evolve? The talk will examine how modern conservation practice addresses the actions of the past, and discusses the role that pressure sensitive products might play in future preservation initiatives.

Adhesives and Leather (Janet Mason): The selection of adhesive repair methods for damaged leather objects is determined by the condition of the leather, the type of materials or substances that have been applied or attached to it, the extent and location of the damage, and future use of the object.  Deterioration mechanisms of vegetable tanned leather and methods to determine the shrinkage temperature of collagen will be reviewed as a starting point in narrowing the choice of adhesives.  The use of aqueous and non-aqueous adhesives applied wet or reactivated by heat, solvent or solvent vapor depends on the cohesion of the leather at the bond site and how readily the adhesive may penetrate the leather, access to the site, clamping methods that can be used and potential stress that might be applied to the repair.  Many repairs require a backing material and the type of adhesive has an influence on the selection. The application of heat to leather is a concern and will be considered against the ease and control of the use of heat reactivated adhesives. A sample set of four different leathers and skins  adhered to five to six backing materials using eight adhesives (applied wet or reactivated by solvent, solvent vapors or heat) will be available for examination.

Adhesives and Photographs (Gawain Weaver): This presentation will trace the history of adhesive used on photographs from the starches and caseins of the 19th century to the dry mount tissues and cold mount adhesives of the 20th century. Mr. Weaer will discuss their application by the photographer or mounter and the preservation and conservation treatment issues that he has encountered as a conservator in private practice.

Speaker Bios

As a conservator and collection manager, Velson Horie, focuses on quality of care to achieve clear public benefits, using state of the art conservation, access and security provision in display and storage schemes. Velson has managed a wide range of projects, from collaborative research to professional accreditation to a £21m capital development.  Velson aims to raise standards of professional practice, gives regular courses on polymers in conservation. Velson Horie is currently Treasurer of the International Institute for Conservation

Elissa O'Loughlin was Senior Conservator at the National Archives and Records Administration, and Senior Conservator in the Division of Conservation and Technical Research at the Walters Art Museum. Over her 30 year career she specialized in the study of pressure sensitive adhesives and their effect on cultural heritage materials. She continues to teach a popular tape removal course for mid-level conservators, and is currently writing a book on the subject funded by a Kress Foundation Publication Grant administered by the American Institute for Conservation.

Janet Mason is an Objects Conservator at the Canadian Conservation Institute (1983-present) and is a graduate of the Art Conservation Techniques program at Sir Sandford Fleming College (1980). From 1986 to 1988 she was an Andrew W. Mellon Fellow at the Pacific Regional Conservation Centre, Bishop Museum, Hawaii.  She has worked with vegetable tanned leather (most recently a leather upholstered chair), sheepskin, rawhide, seal and caribou fur skins, brain and smoke tanned skin

Gawain Weaver is a photograph conservator in private practice based in San Anselmo, CA. He received B.A. degrees in art history and chemistry (2001) from Sonoma State University, and an M.A. in art history and diploma in conservation (2005) from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Over the course of his academic career, he interned at the Getty Museum, as well as in the photograph conservation departments of the Amon Carter Museum, Library and Archives Canada, the Museum of Modern Art, and the Northeast Document Conservation Center.