Conserve a Book

Conserve a Book 2016-12-21T16:45:42+00:00

‘Her next solicitude was to furnish herself with a well-chosen collection of books; and this employment…proved a source of entertainment so fertile and delightful that it left her nothing to wish.’

Cecilia, 1782, Frances Burney (1752-1840)

Chawton House – Book Conservation from Chawton House Library on Vimeo.

Books from the Chawton House Library collection in need of conservation

Books from the Chawton House Library collection in need of conservation

Chawton House Library’s important collection of some 10,000 volumes and original manuscripts needs your help! A recent survey by an accredited conservator found that, although well cared for now, approximately 75% of the collection needs conservation work, mostly due to historic damage. This work can be carried out by our dedicated team of volunteers following training from a qualified conservator. Your contribution can pay for this training, and the equipment required. By conserving one book, you are helping us to safeguard the whole library, inspiring readers and academics long into the future. Just £1 is enough to buy document repair tape and with £500 we can restore a whole volume – all contributions are very gratefully received.

‘Small amounts of money can make a very big difference to our programme.’

Gillian Dow, Executive Director Chawton House Library

Fragments of books carefully stored in our archives, awaiting the essential funding needed to restore them to their volumes

Fragments of books carefully stored in our archives, awaiting the essential funding needed to restore them to their volumes

£6/$10 can buy unbleached cotton archival ribbon

£10/$17
can buy an archival box to protect a fragile book

£100/$170 can pay for a full set of conservation equipment including unbleached cotton archival ribbon, document repair tape and archival boxes

£300/$500 can pay for a volunteer training day, giving a whole team the necessary skills to carry out vital conservation work

£500/$800 can restore a complete volume

‘When you handle them (old books), you feel intimately connected with the past, even down to tiny ink smudges… coffee stains… wine stains… that really puts you in touch in some direct way with the people who read those books centuries ago. I think it’s irreplaceable.’

Dr Helen Cole, Independent Researcher.

Read Dr Helen Cole’s article on the ‘Life and times of a rare book at Chawton House Library’ [PDF, 3.8MB]

Books from the Chawton House Library collection in need of conservation

Books from the Chawton House Library collection in need of conservation

You can donate now to the Conserve a Book Appeal via virginmoneygiving. Please write in the message box that your donation is towards book conservation. You can also donate over the phone by calling us on 01420 541010.

US donations can be made through North American Friends of Chawton House Library. This is a US section 501(c)(3) tax-exempt organisation. Donations are deductible for purposes of US income taxes and will be acknowledged with a tax receipt. Simply donate via paypal – please indicate that you would like your donation to go to book conservation.