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Preservation and Conservation of Books

Paper Type: Free Essay Subject: English
Wordcount: 2881 words Published: 16th Nov 2016

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Key Words – Library, preservation, conservation.


Preservation and conservation of reading resources is central mission of the libraries. Now a days the wind of computerization and digitization blowing everywhere in the world. The libraries are also not behind to them. New emerging technologies such as computer and digitization are the boon For the preservation and conservation of traditional resources. So, I selected the topic on “preservation and conservation of books and non-books” in the four libraries which are old and situated in Mumbai reason for M. Phil. Degree (Awarded in 2009). But for writing this research paper I have chosen only “Asiatic society library, fort, Mumbai.

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Till today many libraries and reading resources destroyed. There are many reasons behind them. Some natural calamities such as fire, flood, climate etc are the factors causes to destroy the libraries. Some times human made attacks on the libraries, wars and biological factors such as micro organisms, white ants like insects etc. tried to destroy the libraries and causes losses of valuable cultural documents of India till . in ancient India Nalanda, Vallabhi, Odantapuri etc. were the excellent knowledge imparted centers. But, some libraries fired by enemy in the war and destroy all the reading resources. So, preservation and conservation is important to save the libraries.

History of Asiatic society library :

The Asiatic society forms part of the network of institutions created by the British to generate, systematize and disseminate knowledge of India and the Orient a vast body of information learning and knowledge that came to be known as INDOLOGY. The Asiatic Society of Bombay (in 2002 it renamed itself as the Asiatic society of Mumbai) was established in 26th Nov 1804 by a great Savant, Sir James Mackintosh, the recorder of Bombay, with the Objective of “promoting useful knowledge, particularly connected with India”. The society originally located in government house in Parel (Now there is Hafkin Institute) . In 1931 it moved into the north wings of the newly constructed Town Hall. At that time expenditure of Town Hall building was Rs. 6,56,669/- . (Gurav, anant,p-19)

Scope and limitations of the study

Every research has some scope and limitations. Title for M. Phil Thesis is “Preservation and conservation of books and non-books material in old libraries of Mumbai region : A study”. It means the scope and limitations of my study was only four libraries of Mumbai region (awarded in 2009- YCMOU Nasik.) . name of these libraries are as follows.

  1. Asiatic Society library, Town Hall, Mumbai (Established-1804)
  2. State Central library, Town Hall, Mumbai (1947)
  3. Dadar Sarvajanik Vachanalaya, Dadar (1907)
  4. S. V. Phatak Granthasangrahalay, Parle (1925)

Out of these four libraries in this research paper I want to focus on Asiatic society Library, Mumbai only.

Objective of the study.

Keeping of reading resources in good condition is very responsible and difficult task. Every library do something to preserve and conserve their resources. Different methods going to uses by different libraries. So, I have to curiosity to know how these libraries preserves reading materials . accordingly my objectives of the study are as follows.

1) To study the present position of preservation and conservation of the book and non books material.

2) To study the factors which causes decaying of reading resources.

3) To study the preservation and conservation of old and rare books.

4) To study of the preservation and conservation and suggest resolution.

Hypothesis :

following are the hypothesis of research.

  1. The selected library is imparting knowledge continuously for many years
  2. Library has manuscripts, rare books which are preserved and conserved in good condition.
  3. So many readers, researchers and institutions taking benefits of this library.
  4. Library is doing a good job for society and helps to make the nation strong.

Research Methods : There are different methods of the research. I have used descriptive and historical research methods for this study.

Data collection Methods : Data collection is basic and important activity of every research. For data collection I used 1) Questionnaire, 2) Interview, 3) Observation. Method

Need of the Study :

Traditionally library collection contain a wide range of organic materials including paper, cloth, animal skins and adhesives. Such organic substances undergo a continual and inevitable natural ageing process. Mumbai is the capital of Maharashtra and economic capital of country. Mumbai is metropolitan city. The atmosphere of Mumbai region is hot and humid. Such atmosphere is favorable to create and grow germs, cockroaches, book worms, white-ants that causes decaying and damaging pages of the books. Now the area where Asiatic society library situated is surrounded by newly built skyscrapers. It is important business area with many banks and offices with hustle and bustle of traffic which creates full of dust particles. Such type of atmosphere is harmful to traditional as well as newly book resources. So, I decided to study the libraries which are situated in metropolitan city like Mumbai.

Libraries are worked like genes. Genes transfer the human characters from one generation to next generation. Likewise libraries transfer information or knowledge from one generation to next generation with the help of reading resources like books and non book materials. It’s a need of time to save the reading resources and libraries.

Data Analysis :

Question no 1, 2 and 3 are related to the general information of the library. The Q. No. 4 asked information about forms and types of reading resources available in the library. Received data are shoe in the following table follows.

The table No. 1: Forms and Number of Reading Resources.

Sr. No.

Reading Resources












Palm Leaves








Bar Chart Shows forms and No. of Available Resources in the Library.

The Intention of Question no .6 is to find out total sections of the library and have there a separate section for preservation and conservation. The find out comes as following.

Table No.2 : Sections of Library

Sr. No.

Name of Section


Books processing




Preservation and Conservation


Book binding



Question No. 7 was asked about readers of the library. In the Asiatic society library every day 25 members visited to the library and 2500 are lifetime members. members of library are students, teachers and some institutions also.

Question No. 9 was about the personnel’s of the library. In this library there are following personnel recruited on different posts in the library.

Table No. 3 : personnel

Sr. No.

Post / Specific sections personnel






Assi. Librarian



Binding section personnel



Lab. Assi (conservation sec)



Micro film operator & other (Preservation sec.)





When observation of above table of personnel found that there are separate skilled and qualified personnel are recruited in preservation, conservation and binding section.

Question No. 11 is asked on preservation and conservation policy of the library. For more information I also taken separate interview of preservation, conservation and binding sections personnel. What I got information is very important and very few libraries follow such policy. The received data are as follows.

Library has three sections such as preservation, conservation and book binding. Every section has its separate function. Preservation section is established in 1995. Under this section old, rare, damaged books and manuals are converted in to microform and preserved. 5-6 palm leaves are also preserved in microform.

Conservation section : tissuing process

Conservation section of this library is established in 1991. Under this section the books which are damaged by acidity and tearing the pages of the books, such books they processed with tissuing method and increase the life of the books. In tissuing process there are three steps which are described as follows.

  1. Fumigation : this is the 1st step in tissuing process. in fumigation process all the books (which are selected for tissuing) are make insect free / microorganism free by keeping books in fumigation (fumes of insecticides like Thymol) chamber. After fumigation books putout and separated its pages and clean all these pages with soft brush. These cleaned pages forward to ‘Deacidification’ process.
  2. Deacidification : this is the 2nd step of tissuing. In this process set of 2-3 fumigated pages ties with wire mesh. This wire mesh with tied pages pours into 10 liter water for half an hour. After then these pages pour into alkaline liquid (Calcium hydroxide) for half an hour. In this process eradicate the complete acidity of the pages. Lastly these acid free pages wash in normal water and dried naturally. These dried pages used for tissuing process.
  3. Tissuing : this is the 3rd and last step of tissuing process. Tissuing process is like lamination process. In this process Japanese tissue paper is mostly used. Tissue paper is special and very thin transparent paper. This tissue paper called as “lanced tissue paper” it is acid free paper. In this process acid free (2nd step) pages put on wax paper and the paste spread over it by the brush. Then take large tissue paper paste both side of the page of book and excess tissue paper cut equal with page size and lastly this tissued pages sent to binding section for binding.

In this way personnel of conservation section told that with the help of tissuing process increase the life of books for hundred years.


Binding Section:

Binding section of this library is oldest section. In this section continuous binding work is going on . they bind of old books, new arrival books, news papers (2) and atlases. Every year Average1800 books bind by this section. This section used self made paste for binding and it is insecticide. It means binding section of this library is also very alert in preservation and conservation of library resources.

Question No.16 was asked about enemies of reading resources. Accordingly in this library the readers, mouse, cockroaches, white ants, silverfishes, dust and rain water which comes from window these are the factors which damage or destroy the library resources. They also mention that to protect the books from dust we uses vacuum cleaner.

Question No. 19 asked to take the information about preservation and conservation of non books.

They replied that we keep maps and atlases in flat position (without folding) in cabinet and sometimes if required bind it. They bind two news papers such as times of india and national herald tributes. For security of microfilm they keep all the microfilm in 3-4 degree centigrade temperature.

Question No.21 was asked to about protection of library from fire like calamity. The Asiatic society library has facility of fire extinguisher to control the fire like calamity and they also the facility of fog extinguisher to protect library fog like calamity.

Conclusion :

Considering the received data, hypothesis and objective of the study the conclusions are as follows.

  1. The Asiatic Society library is the old library and provides the best services to its members since 1804.
  2. Library has available books and non-books material which keeps in good condition.
  3. Found separate Preservation, conservation and binding section of the library and played very vital roles in increasing the life of reading resources.
  4. Some rare books , manuscripts and palm leaves are converted in microfilm form and saved.
  5. Found Facility of fire extinguisher and fog extinguisher from the security of fire and fog.
  6. To protect the reading resources from dust there is a facility of vacuum cleaner.

In this way Asiatic society library’s work in field of preservation and conservation is definitely valuable in the field of library and information science.


1) Chaudhary, S. K. : Library Preservation and conservation, APH pub. Corporation, New Delhi, 2011

2) Anant Gurav : Vishwa Granthalayache, Aarati prakashan, dombivali, 1998.

3) Joshi Laxmanshastri : Marathi Vishwakosh (vol 5 & 13), Maharashtra Rajya Sahity Sanskrari Mandal, 1977 & 1987.

4) Annual Report of The Asiatic Society of Mumbai and The Library of the Asiatic Society of Mumbai, 2006-07. & Pamphlet of Asiatic society library.

5) Mukharjee, B. B. : Preservations of Library Materials, Archives and documents, the world press pvt. Ltd., Calcutta.



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