The Book and Paper Group
The American Institute for Conservation

Saint Bonaventure University Preservation Department

by Peter Jermann and Susan Mackey Frakes

Collections Served

Circulating collection: 275,000 volumes (monographs and periodicals)

Franciscan Institute Collection: 10,000 volumes (monographs and periodicals)

Rare Book Collections: 10,000 volumes


1942 - 1980 Book bindery established to bind serial titles.
1980 - 1985 Bindery evolves into a Preservation Department
1985 - 1992 Full service Preservation Department


The Preservation Department answers directly to the Director of the Library. Department responsibilities extend to all library collections and include operation of the in-house bindery, commercial binding, commercial microfilming, in-house reformatting and staff preservation education.

Work flow for in-house repair and rebinding is generated by the circulation department and technical services. the circulation department traps damaged books as they are checked out or returned and routes them to the bindery. Technical services forwards all new paperbacks to the bindery for re-binding in addition to trapping damaged books and earlier paperbacks that come through the department as part of a reconversion project. Treatment decisions are made in the Preservation Department.


Preservation Officer (full time)
Student technicians (20 hours/week)

15' x 25' (office and work space)
10' x 14' (storage and work space)

30" board shear
19" manual guillotine
15" glue machine
12" casing press
16" caging press
15" pinch press backing press fan gluing press
IBM compatible PC

In-house Treatments

Circulating materials:
First time binding
Hardback rebinding and recasing
Paperback rebinding
Paperback stiffening
Pamphlet binding
Expandable binders
Marginal materials wrap-around boxes (20 pt. archival board)

Rare and unique materials:
Wrap-around phase boxes (55 pt. gray/white archival board)
Polyester encapsulation

Annual production

Approximately 4,000 items/year (50% paperback rebinding, 25% hardback recasing, 25% other)

Treatment Philosophy

Circulating Collections:
  • The library is not a museum.
  • The photocopy machine is here to stay.
  • We only want to See it once.
Rare Collections:
  • Boxes and enclosures are the only truly reversible treatments.
  • If it ain't broke don't fix it, if it does need fixing it goes off-site.
  • Off-site conservation only happens for a damn good reason.
Peter Jermann, Preservation Officer
Susan Mackey Frakes, Preservation Intern
Friedsam Memorial Library
Saint Bonaventure, New York

Publication History

Received: Fall 1992

This paper is one of the institutional profiles offered by participants in the Library Collections Conservation Discussion Group at the the Book and Paper specialty group session, AIC 20th Annual Meeting, June 2-7, 1992, Buffalo, NY.

Papers for the specialty group session are selected by committee, based on abstracts and there has been no further peer review. Papers are received by the compiler in the Fall following the meeting and the author is welcome to make revisions, minor or major.