Long-term conservation of the originals relies on the implementation of appropriate measures for storage and use, in addition to numerous other steps taken to facilitate conservation and restoration.

The HAB advises institutions and private individuals on all aspects of conservation relating to the holdings. This encompasses prevention as well as conservation and restoration. Restorers are also available for consultations on questions that arise from research conducted into the materiality of historical sources (such as research into bindings and codicology). As a centre of competence on the conservation of holdings, the HAB has joined forces with 11 other libraries and archives to form the Allianz Schriftliches Kulturgut Erhalten (Alliance for the Preservation of Written Cultural Heritage).


Expert advice at state level

In 1986 the Niedersächsischer Beirat für Bibliotheksangelegenheiten/Sektion Wissenschaftliche Bibliotheken (Advisory Board for Library Affairs in Lower Saxony/Research Libraries Division) set up a working group as part of its strategy for conserving holdings belonging to the state of Lower Saxony. It proposes measures to conserve and restore valuable holdings in Lower Saxony’s research libraries which are under the aegis of the Ministerium für Wissenschaft und Kultur (Ministry of Science and Culture, MWK).

The working group is chaired by the Universitätsbibliothek Osnabrück (Osnabrück University Library) and includes representatives of four other libraries: the Staats- und Universitätsbibliothek Göttingen (Göttingen State and University Library, SUB), the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Bibliothek – Niedersächsische Landesbibliothek in Hanover (Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Library – Lower Saxony State Library), the Landesbibliothek Oldenburg (State Library, Oldenburg) and the Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel.

State-run institutions in Lower Saxony that wish to apply for central funding for projects to conserve holdings are obliged to consult the state’s own specialist adviser before any new application is made. Moreover, other cultural institutions can also ask for advice externally if they lack their own workshop or sufficient expertise. The target group of those who might potentially seek consultation includes private individuals as well.

The consultation covers all aspects of holdings conservation, including:

  • Evaluating the current condition
  • Conservation/restoration measures
  • Project planning
  • Storage of library holdings
  • Climate-related/environmental impact (temperature, humidity, pollutants, pests)
  • Lighting
  • Use
  • Digitisation of the holdings
  • Exhibitions/loans
  • Microbially contaminated library holdings (mould)
  • Construction/renovations
  • Security / marking property (stamps, shelf-mark labels, bar codes …)
  • Emergency planning (fire, water, mould)
  • Codicology, research into bindings
  • Expert assessments
  • Passing on details of freelance service providers