Throughout its history, the Library has developed techniques appropriate to its preservation responsibilities. Alongside traditional curative care and binding, new activities have been added: prevention and preservation, staff training and awareness-raising, digitization, research, and technology monitoring.
BnF’s laboratory enables a truly scientific approach by developing methods for analyzing materials and the ways in which they age and degrade.
Activities are spread across four distinct sites, coordinated within the Preservation department by a central team based at the François Mitterrand Library (Site François-Mitterrand).
Preservation activities at the François-Mitterrand Library consist of the following:
- the Preservation department management and a Central section
- the Technical section which is composed of :
- two restoration workshops (one of which makes bindings)
- a packaging and light equipment workshops
- an exhibition preparation workshop
- the Digitization section
The role of the Preservation Department management, based at the François-Mitterrand Library, is to coordinate and financially manage all the department’s activities. It therefore includes experts in binding, restoration, micrography, and digitization. It is supported by a Central section which concentrates other cross functional activities: definition workshops that combine documents into batches requiring similar treatment and send them to internal workshops or external service providers, IT coordination, a training unit, as well as the coordination of the emergency plan for safeguarding collections.
Within the Technical section, internal workshops deal with some of the documents held on site, providing the following services:
- maintenance (minor repairs and cleaning)
- manual binding and gilding
- restoration and major repairs (printed materials and performing arts items)
- minor preparations for documents intended for open access
- Custom document packaging: the workshop has a cutting table, enabling it to produce large quantities of custom boxes
The Technical section also has a workshop for preparing documents for internal exhibitions (backing, framing, and making support media).
It manages training for stack attendants working for the Collections Division who come into the workshops to carry out light maintenance on their collections.