Preservation at BnF: policy, laboratory, and sites
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 at the Richelieu Library (Paris IIe)
Preservation activities at Richelieu Library consist of:
- restoration workshops
- a reproduction workshop
- a laboratory
- training activities (emergency plan)
Due to the current renovation work at Richelieu Library, restoration and reproduction workshops are temporarily moved to the François-Mitterrand Library.
The Restoration section, based at the Richelieu Library, is responsible for BnF’s restoration activities. It currently consists of:
- workshops tasked with restoring ancient and modern bound documents, printed materials and manuscripts on all types of media and materials (5th to 20th centuries)
- and a reproduction workshop responsible for creating digital or microfilm backups of the site’s valuable documents, often after they have been restored.
The workshops of the Restoration sectionThe workshops of the Restoration section within the Preservation department work for all BnF’s so-called special collections departments, mainly on bound documents.
Several special collections departments also have their own local workshops: the Maps and Plans department, the Prints and Photographs department, the Coins, Medals and Antiques department, and the Eastern and Western Manuscripts departments.
The Arsenal Library and the Opera Library also have a workshop mainly tasked with maintaining their collections.
The reproduction workshop
The reproduction workshop is involved in programs to create digital backups (permanent digital images) of BnF’s prestigious collections: daguerreotypes, glass plates, painted manuscripts, drawings, engravings, and old maps and plans.