Goldsmith Gift Expands Library’s Preservation & Conservation Capability

The Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Department in New York University’s Elmer Holmes Bobst Library was formally dedicated on Monday, May 15 at a ceremony in honor of the well-known author, historian, and cultural preservationist whose gift has made it possible.

Barbara Goldsmith’s critically acclaimed and best-selling books have won numerous awards. She is ardently committed to the causes of human rights and the preservation of America’s written heritage. Goldsmith has been a longtime donor and supporter of the Library’s preservation department. Her recent gift made possible this new and larger preservation and conservation facility that has had an immediate impact upon the Library’s programs. While continuing to conserve its general collection, the Library is now able to expand the preservation program to include its special collections and archival materials, which contain books and paper, audiotape and videotape, film, and other media.

The Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Department comprises three separate laboratories, one each for book, film, and video conservation. More space and equipment allow a broader range of book conservation and preservation techniques. A quarantine room provides temporary storage for material that arrives dirty or mildewed, as sometimes happens with newly acquired collections that have been stored in attics or cellars. High-security storage accommodates rare books and materials, and zone heating and cooling allow temperature-controlled environments in the laboratories. Additional workstations accommodate interns and freelance conservators working on special projects.

Carol A. Mandel, dean of the NYU Division of Libraries, said, “Barbara Goldsmith’s generosity and her vision for our preservation and conservation program have been transformative. Our work will have an impact beyond NYU as we train and mentor students and interns, proceed with groundbreaking work in moving image and audio preservation, and contribute to cultural preservation projects.”

In making her newest grant to NYU’s Division of Libraries, Goldsmith said, “I am delighted to assist in NYU’s ongoing effort to halt the decay and destruction of precious library materials.”

In a partnership with NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, the Barbara Goldsmith Preservation and Conservation Department also serves as a teaching facility. Video preservation classes are held there as part of the innovative Moving Image Archiving and Preservation (MIAP) program, a two-year graduate course in management of preservation-level collections of film, video, and other digital works.

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