Conservation | Mass Deacidification | Preservation Reformatting | Research and Testing
The mission of the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress is to ensure long-term, uninterrupted access to the intellectual content of the collections in original or reformatted form. The Preservation Directorate fulfills this mission 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 physical protection of the collections.
- Organization Chart [PDF, 24 KB]
The work of the Preservation Directorate is carried out by four divisions:
Binding & Collections Care and Mass Deacidification
The Binding & Collections Care Division manages the care of the Library's permanent research collections through binding preparation and contract management; collections conservation; in-house binding such as pamphlet binding; and collections housing, using state-of-the-art automated box-cutting machines.
- Mass Deacidification
Mass deacidification is a process to treat modern acidic library collections. The Library's long-term objective is to treat at least 250,000 books and 1,000,000 loose sheets annually.
The Conservation Division cares for the Library's special collections, including rare books and manuscripts, works of art and other unique documents on paper, photographs, maps, objects, and other special formats. Conservation also monitors storage and exhibition environments, stabilizes materials for optimized storage, exhibition, and digitization, and manages the Library's collections emergency team in the event of collections emergencies.
The Preservation Reformatting Division is responsible for the Library's program to provide continued access to 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 undertakes scientific and technical research to advance and support Library preservation. Topics of study include paper permanence; digital document formats; longevity of storage media; adhesives behavior; storage and exhibition conditions; binding methods; and deacidification. The division also tests preservation supplies and materials to ensure appropriate standards of quality and monitors and maintains the Library's low-oxygen exhibition cases.