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Margaret B. Harrison Preservation Lab

Preservation Treatment

Over the life of a library book, it sees a fair amount of use, often resulting in normal wear and tear.  You may have checked out books that show some signs of use: dented corners, worn hinges, and damaged book spines.  The Margaret B. Harrison Conservation Lab is where those books go to be repaired.

Career and student staff are responsible for the binding and repair of circulating library material. Materials meeting certain criteria are repaired in the Preservation Lab. Other damaged materials are sent to the UC Bindery for either re-casing or re-binding.

Books needing attention are usually identified by the Circulation/Shelving staff who direct them to Preservation Lab, where treatment options are considered.

The career staff are also integral members of the UC Davis Library Disaster Response Team.

History of the Preservation Lab

The UC Davis Library dedicated its Preservation Services on September 13, 1990, in commemoration of a longtime library supporter and bookbinder, Margaret B. Harrison.

Margaret B. Harrison became interested in bookbinding in the 1930s, apprenticing for a time with master bookbinder Hazel Dreis. Although she had originally planned to teach bookbinding, World War II intervened, and Mrs. Harrison spent the war years as an adjutant and then commanding officer in the Sacramento Women’s Ambulance and Transportation Corps.

She did not pursue teaching, but for more than four decades, her bookbinding skills enabled her to bind and preserve a number of volumes within the Western Americana collection that she and her husband, Michael, were acquiring.

After Mrs. Harrison’s death in 1980, her binding equipment and supplies were bequeathed to the UC Davis Library to support its binding efforts. In memory of his wife, Michael Harrison provided an endowment, the income from which is used to augment the library’s ongoing preservation programs.

Mrs. Harrison’s half interest in the Michael and Margaret B. Harrison Western Research Center was also bequeathed to the library.

Preservation Resources

UC Davis Library Preservation can only repair or bind materials which belong to the UC Davis Library. For your convenience, we provide the following list of resources.