History of the Preservation Directorate | News about the Preservation Directorate
Preservation responsibilities at the Library of Congress are distributed across the Library mostly according to format. The Library of Congress Preservation Directorate is responsible primarily for the preservation of paper-based collection materials. The work of the Preservation Directorate is to ensure long-term, uninterrupted access to the intellectual content of the collections in original or reformatted form. This is accomplished directly through the provision of conservation, binding, mass deacidification, reformatting, materials testing, and staff and user education; and indirectly through the coordination and oversight of all Library-wide activities relating to the preservation and protection of the phyiscal collections.
The work of the Preservation Directorate is carried out by four divisions (see also the Preservation Directorate Organization Chart [PDF: 21 KB / 1 p.]):
Binding and Collections Care and Mass Deacidification
The Binding & Collections Care Division is responsible for the care of the LC-classified collections through: binding preparation and contract management; collections conservation and housing; deacidification of volumes and unbound leaves.
The Conservation Division is responsible for the Library's special collections, through activities including conservation assessment, treatment, housing, and research; exhibition and digitization preparation; environmental monitoring; collections emergency response.
The Preservation Reformatting Division is responsible for the Library's program to provide continued access to the information in at-risk materials (e.g., brittle newspapers) by copying to alternative formats such as microfilm, paper facsimile, or digital file.
Preservation Research and Testing
The Preservation Research and Testing Division is responsible for scientific undertakings to support and advance the Library’s preservation program, including materials research; material analysis; quality assurance for preservation supplies and materials; maintenance of the Library's low-oxygen exhibition cases.
Thanks to the real threat of fire (and the devastation of the Library from fires in 1814 and 1851) the Library's preservation concerns extend far into the Library's history. Preservation activities grew organically throughout the first two-thirds of the 20th century, and the Library established the Preservation Office (now Directorate) in 1967, six months after the November 1966 flood in Florence that damaged more than one million books.
Read news and articles about the activities of the Preservation Directorate.