Preservation Processing Policy for Gifts and Newly Acquired Older Materials


In order to ensure that the materials placed within our collections are both functional and structurally sound, the Library’s Preservation and Conservation Program will provide some services for gift collections and newly acquired materials that require treatment. This policy governs those services and the treatments offered.

Physical Considerations for Evaluating Gift Materials

The selection principles that subject librarians consider when acquiring new materials are valid for gifts and the acquisition of older materials as well. However, a number of physical criteria not generally considered when acquiring newly printed materials should be taken into account. These include:

  • Heavy marking or annotation.
  • Excessive wear or damage.
  • Brittle paper – items unable to withstand typical use, unable to be cataloged without difficulty, or structurally unsound.
  • Books printed on dittos, veri-fax, copy-flo, or other unstable reprographic processes – the inks fade quickly and require replacement or reformatting
  • Evidence of mold, insect, or other infestation or damage.

Services Offered

When subject librarians process gift materials requiring treatment through the Library’s Acquisitions Unit, they will be instructed to complete an orange treatment streamer for those requiring repair and a white streamer for unbound materials.

Minor Damage and Repair

The Library’s Preservation and Conservation Program will offer the following services for gifts and newly acquired materials requiring treatment.

  • Pamphlet Binding
    • Any unbound item measuring less than ¼” in thickness and not brittle.
  • Minor Book Repair
    • Cutting uncut pages.
    • Hinge tightening.
    • Repairing torn pages (up to ten per item).
    • Tip-ins for loose pages (up to five per item).
    • Rehanging sound text blocks – placing sound text block back into a structurally sound case.
  • Commercial Binding – Items must have 3/8” inner margin and not brittle.
    • Paperback volumes earmarked for reference or reserve collections only (all others only after third circulation).
    • Hardbound volumes requiring rebinding or re-casing (as determined by Conservation personnel).
    • Unbound items such as theses and white-papers identified as necessary for the Library’s collections.
  • Brittle materials will receive only minimal stabilization until demonstrated need indicates a need to reformat the item.

Excessive Damage

In some cases, materials entering the Library are so damaged that they are impossible to treat in a reasonably cost-effective manner. The following is a list of damage that is not cost-effective to treat on demand and are outside the scope of services provided:

Items otherwise meeting criteria for commercial binding but with insufficient inner margin (minimum of 3/8” inner margin). Subject librarians will be asked to identify funds to acquire a new edition or to have the item reformatted.

Excessive Repairs such as those listed below. Subject librarians will be asked to identify funds to acquire a new edition or secure necessary funds to have the item(s) conserved.

  • Text block is not sound and the item does not otherwise meet criteria for commercial binding, i.e., brittle paper, insufficient margins, etc….
  • Excessive use of inappropriate tapes in repair to the volume’s spine, pages, or other components.
  • Repair work that otherwise exceeds minor repairs listed above.
  • Remediation of active mold and pest infestations.
  • Conservation treatment.

Brittle Books and Serials Requiring Immediate Reformatting

  • Generally, brittle and damaged gift volumes should not be added to the Libraries’ collections. The cost of providing access to brittle and damaged library materials is high, so high that we can scarcely address the needs of collections in current use. However, there may be cases where a gift item’s intellectual content or archival value outweighs its poor physical condition. In these cases, the accepting bibliographer must make a monetary commitment to make the gift items serviceable. For example, when published volumes are in question, the bibliographer should attempt to identify funds to purchase a copy of the title that is in good condition or, if an acceptable copy is not available, to have the item reformatted.
  • In cases of gifted archival collections or rare books, exceptions will be made, but subject librarians should consider asking the donor for processing funds or commit part of their collection funding to ensure the item’s accessibility.

Should items be desired that contain any of these problems, the Head of Preservation will advise the collection manager how to secure services to address these issues. However, the costs for these treatments will be considered a part of the acquisition and the responsibility of the collection manager.