Dodd, Mead and Company 1899
Mission & History
The Washington University Libraries are strongly committed to the preservation of the materials that constitute its many collections. There are 10 libraries on the Danforth Campus alone holding 3.6 million items.
Recognizing the serious problems of deterioration within the analog collections, the Libraries established the position of Preservation Librarian in 1985 and Preservation Administrator in 1991, whose responsibility it was to develop a full preservation program.
In more recent years, with the movement of preservation activities outward into an environment made possible by digital technologies, the model of preservation which developed in the 1990s has now extended far beyond the traditional preservation department and is more distributed.
At the same time, the current Preservation Unit at Washington University Libraries continues to be deeply involved in traditional collections care activities. Since 2008 it is overseen by the new position of Librarian Supervisor, Preservation, and has three full time staff. Book repair, library binding, a brittle book program, and shelf-ready processing constitute the main item-level day-to-day functions of the unit. The librarian is also responsible for wider programs including environmental monitoring, disaster preparedness and response, and user education.