Preservation Services Across Campus: Harvard Divinity School Library

A conservation lab with a triangular building on the far wall.

This series of blog posts highlights the different spaces across the Harvard campus where Preservation Services staff work to preserve and conserve library materials. 

In 2000 the building that houses Harvard Divinity School Library underwent a major renovation that included adding an entire third floor. Part of that project included setting up a new conservation lab. The specifications were created by the library’s conservator at that time, Doris Freitag, and she supervised construction. 

The Harvard Divinity School Library conservation lab is one of the most complete satellite labs that still exists within Harvard’s library system. In addition to other equipment like book presses and a board cutter, the lab has a fully functional fume hood. 

A view of a conservation lab with multiple work surfaces and a fume hood.

This, and many other features, allow for a whole range of conservation treatment. In Doris Freitag’s time, that range included the full treatment of special collections items. 

These days the lab is used on a part-time basis by conservation technician Humberto Oliveira, who has been using the space to repair circulating materials from the library since 2013. Humberto also offers advice on different treatment options, which in many cases may include contacting the Weissman Preservation Center lab for guidance with item-specific issues. 

Humberto occasionally uses the lab to help create conservation awareness for students and it’s often a stop during annual orientation tours. He also collaborates with library staff to offer a basic pamphlet-making class, which is hugely popular amongst the students! 

A man standing at a work bench with conservation equipment on it.

See also: Conservation