Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory


The Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory provides conservation services for NYU Libraries' books and archival collections in order to preserve them for current and future scholars. Conservation treatments preserve the physical object through professionally accepted treatments that prolong the life of the materials. One full time conservator, two technicians, student assistants, and interns staff the laboratory.




General Collections

The conservation laboratory focuses on the treatment of fragile volumes returned from circulation. The volumes treated in the conservation lab are typically fragile books printed before 1945. Treatments carried out include recasing and rebacking, building protective enclosures, paper repairs, and are fully described in the Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory General Collection Conservation Manual.


Special Collections

The Conservation Librarian is responsible for the treatment of paper-based special collections held in the Fales Library, Tamiment Library, Wagner Archives, University Archives, the Stephen Chen Library of Fine Arts, and the Waldmann Dental Library. Materials are selected for individual treatment by the special collections librarians and archivists and include books, serials, scrapbooks, manuscripts, documents, photographs, ephemera, and other unique objects. In addition to treating individual objects, conservation personnel produce custom-made enclosures and participate in long- and short-term preservation planning.


Special Projects

The Barbara Goldsmith Conservation Laboratory hosts project conservators and scholars working on preservation projects. Examples include:


Papyrus Conservation
  • In 2006 over two hundred Papyrus fragments from the Fales collection were imaged, repaired and re-housed with support of a grant from the Bay & Paul Foundations.


Afghan Digital Library Project (ADL)
  • The conservation of texts selected for digitalization was supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Items were treated before imaging to facilitate access to text and repair physical damage. After cataloguing and imaging each object was re-housed in custom-made enclosure.


Research Institute for the Study of Man (RISM) Conservation Project
  • In 2007 approximately 300 items from RISM general collection were treated by conservation staff and a contract conservator. Funding for the project was partially provided by the Barbara Goldsmith Endowment Fund.



The Conservation Laboratory is located in the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation & Conservation Department, Lower Level 2, in the Bobst Library. Contact: Laura McCann, Conservation Librarian, for further information at 212/998-2562.


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