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Inside this Section YOU ARE HERE> SIL Home Page: Giving to the Libraries: Partners in Discovery Campaign
Message from the Director
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Partners in Discovery Campaign

Giving Opportunities

Partners in Discovery Campaign

Preservation Services staff work in the Book Conservation LabPreserving and Exhibiting Collections

Electronic publications compose less than one percent of what is published today. Books and journals on paper continue as the medium of publication in most parts of the world. The Smithsonian Libraries is still responsible for preserving the valuable historical collections that have grown for more than 150 years and for safeguarding the new books and journals that arrive every day. More than 30 percent of these older volumes are brittle (often crumbling) and fragile. Many have hand-colored illustrations, ornate bindings, important notes written in margins, or other features that help create exciting exhibitions.

if they can be first conserved. The Libraries' skilled preservation staff and Book Conservation Laboratory can wash and clean paper, repair or make new bindings, fix tears and other damage, rescue books from mold or other pests, build exhibition mounts or customized storage boxes, remove old glues and tape, and a myriad of other treatments A rare children's book is placed into an exhibition caseto stabilize and rescue these materials for continuing use or exhibition display, but they cannot make significant inroads into the backlog of need without more support. Moreover, as new formats for information emerge, most with unknown longevity, it is crucial for the Libraries to learn and use state-of-the-art preservation techniques for these digital resources as well.

It's About Saving the Past for the Future

To help the Libraries system preserve its priceless print materials, partners in discovery can

  • establish funds to preserve collections in specific subject areas
  • endow a chair of preservation and a senior conservatorship
  • establish a preservation internship program to train students in conservation techniques
  • create a fund for conservation of books slated for exhibition
  • fund the replacement and enhancement of equipment for the Book Conservation Laboratory

next: How You can Help

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