The New York Academy of Medicine has a longstanding commitment to the care of its collections.

With funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the New York Community Trust, Academy Fellows and others, the Academy Library established its preservation program in 1982 and created the Gladys Brooks Book and Paper Conservation Laboratory. In the ensuing years, the lab has worked to maintain the best possible conditions for the library’s materials through skilled and ethical item-level conservation treatment, routine collections-care activities, and large-scale preservation actions.

Conservation Treatment

As a result of use, environmental conditions and natural aging, books in the library’s collections can suffer from various types of damage. Conservators in the Gladys Brooks Lab stabilize and repair items, in a way that is both minimally invasive and maintains their historical context, so that the library’s collections may continue to be used for generations to come.                  

Preservation and Collections Care

As part of its mandate to preserve and care for the library’s collections, the Gladys Brooks Lab implements collection-level cleaning and rehousing projects; monitors environmental conditions in storage areas; prepares for and responds to disasters impacting library materials; and instructs patrons and staff on the proper care and handling of collections.                 

Training and Outreach

The lab also plays an important role in training future generations of conservators and educating the public about library conservation. To this end, we offer a range of volunteer and internship opportunities to pre-professionals, graduate students, and mid-career conservators, and provide tours for groups of all ages interested in learning more about the work we do.

For more information, please email conservation@nyam.org or call (212) 822-7363.