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Penn State University Libraries

Collections Care Unit


William "Bill" Minter, Senior Book Conservator
402 Pattee & 112 Cato II
(814) 863-2885

About the Unit

This unit is responsible for the care and repair of older circulating library materials housed in departmental libraries throughout the University Libraries system. Collections Care offers many services including, book repair, deacidification, shrink wrapping, and other preservation techniques. We coordinate the replacement page process, consult on collection and conservation issues, and assist with contracting vended services and monitoring outsourced projects. In addition, we offer training to other library units, and participate in disaster recovery, response, and rehabilitation of damaged materials. The unit is also active in raising awareness of the costs and causes of book damage, and in book repair and preservation education for the libraries, the university, and the greater community.

Collections Care Unit Best Practices

In 1988 Collections Care established best practices for preserving collections.  We have been using archival, acid-free supplies and performing non-damaging techniques on library circulating materials.

mutilated book
Example of vandalized material

About our Work

Library policies on theft and mutilation of books

Collections Care concentrates on the repair and long-term preservation of paper-based materials found in the Libraries' circulating collection. As such, we observe archival standards in the quality of tools and materials we use to care for library materials. Acid-free board, tape, glue, and other products are utilized to prevent the decay of paper—that yellow, crumbly brittleness of paper whose own acids have broken its structure over time. We also educate the community in the best practices for paper storage to avoid damage from humidity, vermin, hard use and abuse that books can often experience.

To learn more about our process, standards, and best practices, visit our Tutorials & Instruction page, where you will find informative flyers, tutorials, and presentations on all subject pertaining to our work. If you still want more information or can’t find what you’re looking for, you can find more at our Additional Online Resources

Learn the Parts of a Book

Services offered by Collections Care

Library Only Services

Our services include in-house book repair, deacidification, encapsulation, shrink-wrapping, and consultation on collection and conservation issues. We offer training to other library units, and participate in disaster recovery, response, and rehabilitation of damaged materials. In-house repair treatments include reinforcing hinges and gluing book flaps, repairing paper tears, cutting pages, inserting erratas, mounting paper pockets, constructing binders and boxes, and applying mylar covers. To learn more about shrinkwrapping, please visit out shrinkwrapping page. To learn more about the services offered by the Collections Care unit, go to our Services page.

Green Preservation Flyer

Decision Tree

For recommended materials handling guidelines, see Decision Tree.

Collections Care Equipment

In pursuit of its duties, Collections Care employs a wide array of equipment and tools. Some of our tools are commercially available, so any member of the community can engage in repair and preservation of their own collections. Other tools are specialty items we use to ensure the protection of our cherished library collections.

Read more detailed information about the equipment we employ!

Glossary of Bindery and Collections Care Terms

For a listing of Bindery and Collections Care terms, please click this link:  Glossary.


Over the years since its inception, Collections Care has undertaken or participated in many projects.

Disaster Response and Recovery

From natural disaster to man-made accidents, disaster can strike at any time. It is important to have a plan of action in place in the event of an emergency.  We can help you in the development of this plan, train you in disaster response and recovery, and assist you in salvaging collections within 48 hours of the emergency.

Not long after its formation, the Preservation department was called on to enact the most massive emergency preservation undertaking in the history of the Penn State Libraries. A burst pipe flooded the lower levels of the building, and thousands of books were exposed to the stale, muddy water. Read more about the 1993 Pattee Flood Recovery.

This collection water emergency and the experience that rose from it formed the core of the Preservation department's Disaster Planning and Recovery initiative. Digitization and Preservation is committed to expanding awareness and training on disaster response for library collections.

The sooner the recovery process begins, the more of your collection you will be able to save. We offer resources and consulting for any collector interested in developing their own disaster action plan. To learn more, visit our Disaster Recovery Plan page.

Disaster plan template

Additional disaster planning resources can be found on our Additional Online Resources page.

Should a disaster occur please contact us at (814) 863-4696.

google sticker being applied
Google Books Project

Penn State Libraries is collaborating with Google on the Google Books Initiative. Collections Care participates in this library-wide venture by repairing and preserving books for transit and scanning. When the books are returned from being scanned by Google, library staff place an "Ask About e-copy sticker" on the book.