Planning and Constructing Book and Paper Conservation Laboratories: A Guidebook

Planning and Constructing Book and Paper Conservation Laboratories, edited by Jennifer Hain Teper and Eric Alstrom, has recently been published. It is the first book to be written on this topic, and thirteen conservation professionals have contributed their expertise.  I wrote a chapter, “Special Considerations for Private Book Conservation Labs.”  This book can be purchased from the American Library Association store.

Overall, this book contains practical and technical advice for establishing, remodeling and updating book and paper conservation labs. Although the book is targeted to institutional book conservators, many of the chapters—especially Design and Layout, Water Purification, Lighting,  Ventilation and Exhaust, Ergonomic Considerations for Equipment, and Considerations for Private Book Labs—are likely to be of use to private practice book conservators and bookbinders.

My chapter specifically deals with the challenges of private practice, and includes many practical tips on evaluating and procuring used tools and equipment. It also discusses the pros and cons of industrial, store-front and home-based labs. I tend to view private practice labs as more personal than institutional ones, but they should present a professional image to the public which reinforces the ethical, conscientious conservation services performed within them. Additionally, I offer advice for fitting a fully outfitted lab into a small space. Much of the information in my chapter can be applied to book conservation labs and binderies.


Chapters 1 and 7 are available free.

1. Project Management for the Construction of Conservation Laboratories- Donia Conn

2. Design and Layout- Eric Alstrom

3. Special Collections, General Collections, and Hybrid Conservation Laboratories-Whitney Baker

4.Water Purification and Treatment- Jennifer Hain Teper

5. Lighting- Diane Vogt-O’Connor

6. Laboratory Ventilation and Exhaust Systems- Laura McCann and Kristen St. John

7. Custom-Built Furniture and Equipment- Shannon Zachary and Gillian Boal

8. Ergonomic Considerations for Furniture and Equipment- Heather S. Caldwell

9. Quarantine and Segregation Rooms- Ramona Duncan-Huse

10. Special Considerations for Private Book Conservation Laboratories- Jeffrey S. Peachey

11. Special Considerations for Paper Conservation Laboratories- Claire Hoevel

Planning and Constructing Book and Paper Conservation Labs, Edited by Jennifer Hain Teper and Eric Alstrom. 230 pp, Published by ALCTS, 6 x 9″, Softcover, ISBN-13: 978-0-8389-8601-1, $67.95, 2012.

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