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Preservation policy for Rare Books in the Library & Archives Service, London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine Nature of the collection The London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine (LSHTM) is a postgraduate research institute, specialising in global public health. The Library & Archives Service (LAS) supports the current staff and students of the School in their research, as well as providing access to our specialist collections to other interested parties. The Rare Books collection in the LAS consists of two distinct collections. The Reece Collection contains books, pamphlets and press cuttings on the subject of smallpox and vaccination. Part of the collection was sold to the Library, after the death of Dr Richard James Reece, a medical inspector with the Local Government Board in 1925, and a further set of Reece books was donated in 1930 by Dr Hugh Macewen. These texts relate not only to Britain but to various other countries, such as the Netherlands, Germany, Turkey and France. The Historical Collection contains over 1000 rare books on tropical medicine and public health. The majority of titles are from the 19th century, however a significant minority were published in the 18th century, the earliest book is from 1526. The collections include some unique items and many rare and antiquarian volumes with original bindings or historically interesting marginalia. The nature of these collections means that they have special preservation requirements distinct from the general library collection. Aims and objectives Although the Rare Books are not well used, the LAS has a responsibility to look after these books as they form a unique resource documenting the history and teaching of the discipline. The aims of preserving these collections are: To ensure that they are available for use by staff and students of LSHTM and researchers from the wider community To safeguard a nationally important collection of items on the history of global health. Acquisition The LAS acquires new material according to the guidelines set out in its Collection Development Policy. Items may be moved from other collections to the Historical Collection, depending on the rarity of the item, its age, its condition and its value. This decision will be taken by the Information Services Librarian. I:\Rare Books Collection\200908PreservationPolicy(draft2).docx 28 September 2009 Author: Jane Falconer, Information Services Librarian Retention policy Items in the rare books collection are kept indefinitely. The Library may dispose of material which no longer reflects the interests of the School. Where possible, items will be retained in their original format. Alternative formats will only be pursued in exceptional circumstances. Storage The Library aims to provide a stable and secure environment for the rare books collection. The collection is stored in darkness and the temperature and relative humidity are monitored and controlled by the use of dehumidifiers to meet the recommendations set out in BS 5454:2000 for the storage and exhibitions of archival documents. The Library seeks to maintain the cleanliness of the store and ensure that all storage materials used are of archival quality. Disaster plan The LAS Disaster Plan details the measures to be taken for the protection of the collections, and guidance for staff on how to respond in the event of a disaster. Access and use of the collections Skeleton records for the rare books are in the process of being added to the LAS OPAC. Avenues for funding to complete catalogue records for the rare books will be explored during 2009-10. Catalogue details are currently held on the printed catalogue which can be consulted in the Library. Reference only access is available to all LAS users. Users wishing to consult a rare book must arrange an appointment in advance. Rare books may only be consulted in the Archives Research Room under supervision by LAS staff. Help and guidance on handling and using the rare books will be provided by LAS staff if required. Handling guidelines for users of the rare books and archives are displayed in the Archives Research Room. Loans, exhibitions, reprography Rare books cannot be loaned. In exceptional circumstances, items may be loaned for exhibitions on consultation with the Librarian. Photocopying of rare book material may only be undertaken at the discretion of LAS staff. If an item is deemed suitable for photocopying, this will be undertaken by LAS staff and is subject to copyright law. Details of current costs are given on the LAS website. Security The rare book collection is housed in a secure area with access restricted to LAS staff only. Users wishing to consult a rare book must make an appointment in advance and must consult the items under supervision. Education and training The LAS is working towards improving the preservation awareness of its staff and users through staff training and guidance to users of the rare books collection. Surrogates It is not currently possible to provide surrogates for any of the rare books. Conservation The LAS currently does not carry out any conservation activities on the rare books collection. During 2009-10, basic conservation and preservation strategies will be put in place to slow further deterioration of the collection. Advice will be sought from the wider rare books community on conservation ‘quick wins’ and cost-effective actions. In 2006 a preservation audit was carried out on both the archives and the rare books. Recommendations from the audit will be continued to be acted upon as funds become available. During 2009-10, opportunities for funding of specialist conservation treatment will be sought. Items for conservation treatment will be prioritised, based on: Use Bibliographical significance Historical value Rarity Condition All conservation treatments will be undertaken to the highest standard, using appropriate materials and techniques. Funding There is currently no provision in the LAS budget for rare books preservation. In 2007 an unsuccessful bid was made to the Wellcome Trust for a Research Resources in Medical History award. During 2009-10, further opportunities for external funding of specialist conservation treatment will be sought. Feedback from the unsuccessful bid will be used to improve future bids. Improvements The LAS is committed to increase access to the rare books and conserve them for the future. During 2009-10 a preservation and conservation plan will be written by the Information Services Librarian. This will detail any steps which can be taken to prevent further deterioration of the rare books, as well as putting forward a realistic management plan and detailing priorities for conservation if funds become available.
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