Notice: Access to Special Collections material, the Reading Room, and Instruction will temporarily be suspended starting on Aug.12, 2024 as the collection will be moved from the basement to 3 East. Normal operations are anticipated to resume late in the semester. Read more for current updates.
Notice: Access to Special Collections material, the Reading Room, and Instruction will temporarily be suspended starting on Aug.12, 2024 as the collection will be moved from the basement to 3 East. Normal operations are anticipated to resume late in the semester. Read more for current updates.
Notice: Maintenance affecting the library catalog will occur on July 26-29. The catalog will be available except for newly added e-resources, which will not appear until after the maintenance is completed and the backlog of changes can be delivered - possibly 10 days. In addition, renewals and changes to circulation status will not be visible in the EDS interface during this time.
Notice: Maintenance affecting the library catalog will occur on July 26-29. The catalog will be available except for newly added e-resources, which will not appear until after the maintenance is completed and the backlog of changes can be delivered - possibly 10 days. In addition, renewals and changes to circulation status will not be visible in the EDS interface during this time.
Notice: Due to ongoing construction, 4 East is currently closed to the public.  To obtain items located on 4 East, please place an online request for the item to be paged for you using the ‘Place Request’ button in the catalog. Please visit our Circulation FAQ page for assistance in using our catalog.
Notice: Due to ongoing construction, 4 East is currently closed to the public.  To obtain items located on 4 East, please place an online request for the item to be paged for you using the ‘Place Request’ button in the catalog. Please visit our Circulation FAQ page for assistance in using our catalog.
Michigan State University Libraries
Conservation & Preservation
366 W. Circle Dr.
East Lansing , MI 48824
United States

Staff FAQ for Conservation

Questions answered about how to bring books to Conservation, who to contact with questions, what happens to a book when it arrives in the lab, etc.

For more policies and procedures, see the Policies and Procedures page.

There are several ways a book can arrive at the conservation lab;

  1. The book is damaged when it is returned by the patron. Patron Services will send the book to Bind Prep (Bind Prep is the central sorting location for damaged books). If the book can be sent to the library binder, it is processed for that. If it is something the conservation lab can repair, it is routed to the lab. All books sent to Bind Prep or the Conservation Lab have their status updated to reflect their location.
  2. A staff member can bring the book directly to the lab. The Lab is normally staffed from 8am to 5pm. If the book is from the circulating collections, please give it to Eric Alstrom. If it is from Special Collections, talk to Garrett Sumner or Linsey Allen. If the designated person is not available, someone will take the book and give it to whom it should go and have that person contact you.
  3. If you can't walk the book to the lab, you can put it in an envelope and send it through the library currier. Please make sure you have a note with your name and why you are sending the book to the lab. Please do not send fragile, valuable or special collections materials through the currier. If you cannot bring the book to the lab, call us and we can come get it if needed.
  4. If a book is wet or moldy, it can be placed in the freezer. The freezer is located in the old staff lounge next to the shrink wrapping equipment. If you place a book in the freezer, please email or contact Eric Alstrom so we know it is in the freezer and can take appropriate action.

  • Circulating Collections: Please handle the volume carefully since a wet book is more susceptible to damage and a moldy book can be hazardous to your health. If the lab is open, please bring the book directly to the lab. If it is after 5pm or on a weekend, place the book in the freezer and email Eric Alstrom. Do NOT wrap a wet book in plastic and then store it away somewhere. This will cause more damage and mold growth!
  • Special Collections: Contact Garrett Sumner or Linsey Allen and let them know you have a wet book. If they are not available and the lab is open, please bring the book to the lab. If it is after hours, place the book in the freezer, UNLESS the books is bound in leather or vellum. 

If you have general questions about preservation, need preservation supplies or some other aspect of the Conservation & Preservation unit, contact Eric Alstrom (4-0905).

If you have a question about the condition of a book from Special Collections, including wet or moldy books, contact Garrett Sumner (4-0802).

If you have a question about the condition of a book from the general collections, a book being requested via ILL, or any other unit besides Special Collections, contact Eric Alstrom (4-0905).

If you have a question about putting a book on exhibit or need help with exhibit preparation, contact either Garrett Sumner (4-0802) or Linsey Allen (2-0491).

If you have a wet or moldy book and it is while the lab is open, call Eric Alstrom (4-0905) or bring the book to the conservation lab. 

If you have a question about a book at the bindery, contact Eric Alstrom (4-0905).

If you have a question about a video tape, DVD, CD, audio tape or cassette or other piece of media, contact Sarah Mainville (4-0857)