Preserving pages. Beneath the stacks in Firestone Library is a well-lit 4,200-square foot room containing everything from 1950s book presses to the latest polarized microscope.
     They're all tools of the trade for the staff of the library preservation office. The 10-member staff is responsible for the physical care of the library's collections, which include more than 5 million books and 36,000 linear feet of manuscripts.

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     Each year, the preservation office staff handles some 15,000 volumes -- most of which are repaired and returned to the shelves. On any given day, one would find staff members at various stations throughout the large open space quietly going about their business while listening to classical music. Their work involves tasks as simple as repairing a binding on a 19th century novel or as complicated as filling in illustrations on a 17th century Persian manuscript.
     "The people here like to work with their hands and have a high degree of hand-eye coordination," said Robert Milevski, preservation librarian and head of the office. "Our conservators have an extensive background in the physical treatment of library materials."

in the March 12th Princeton Weekly Bulletin

Library preservation office staff members (from left) Ted Stanley, Robert Milevski and Scott Husby use everything from these 1950s book presses to the latest polarized microscope to keep Princeton's collections in good physical condition. (photo: Denise Applewhite)

• Firestone Library Department of Rare Books and Special Collections home page


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