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Preservation policy for Rare Books in the Library _ Archives Service


									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.

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.

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.

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.

It is not currently possible to provide surrogates for any of the rare books.

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.

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.

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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