The University of Wisconsin-Madison has an active and well-established preservation program that includes several components important to the maintenance of both its general and special collections. Preservation activities are incorporated into virtually all areas of the library, but are the particular focus of several library units.

The Book Assessment Section coordinates the flow of materials requiring treatment and reformatting, and tracks the location of all materials on Alma. This area also administers the Brittle Books Program, which searches, evaluates, and ultimately replaces unrepairable materials with reprints, with copies from in- and out-of-print sources, or with microfilms or facsimile reproductions produced commercially or in-house in accordance with national preservation guidelines. In addition, the unit replaces pages that are missing from stacks volumes; creates cataloging records for reformatted materials; selects, organizes, and prepares materials for routine treatment and specially funded projects; coordinates the mass deacidification program; monitors the environment; responds to disasters; arranges preservation education for staff and users; and serves as liaison with all other units within Memorial Library, as well as with other campus libraries.

The GLS Conservation Laboratory performs a broad range of treatments on both general and special collections materials. These include paper repair, rebacking, recasing, hand rebinding, hand-sewn pamphlet binding, construction of boxes and other enclosures, paper washing, aqueous deacidification, and other procedures. All work is done with preservationally sound materials, in accordance with nationally accepted preservation practices. Conservation Lab staff is also integrally involved in disaster response and salvage.

The Microimaging Laboratory films brittle materials from the both general and special collections in accordance with Library of Congress and RLG guidelines and ANSI/AIIM standards. Lab staff have completed the microfilming for several major grant-funded projects and have helped coordinate digitization projects based on this film. The Lab and the Digital Content Group are also committed to supporting the Library’s continuing digitization initiatives by producing high-quality digital surrogates from library and archive collections and to date have participated in many projects including textual, visual, and sound materials.

The Bindery evaluates and prepares serials and monographs for commercial library binding and rebinding and does in-house pamphlet binding. Bindery staff are also involved in development of bindery contracts, resolution of commercial binding problems, and quality control inspections of materials returning from the commercial bindery. The Bindery Supervisor serves as a resource person for campus library staff and library personnel throughout the state on issues relating to bindery contracts and binding problems.

Preservation staff regularly conduct preservation education sessions for other University staff, mount exhibits to increase the preservation awareness of users and staff, present workshops for libraries of all types, handle disaster response activities, provide advice to callers with preservation problems, serve as instructors and visiting lecturers for courses in the iSchool, and maintain ties with other preservation professionals throughout the country.