BNHS Library has a collection of rare books on Natural History. Many of these books are still in demand. These valuable resources are indispensable to the present and future generations. However, these rich rare books face a threat of survival due to threats from, several climatic, physical, chemical and biological factors. There is an old saying that "Prevention is better than Cure". The same is applicable for the science of preservation. There are two aspects of preservation; Preventive Conservation and Curative Conservation.
National archives of India, Ministry of culture is supporting BNHS in the Conservation of rare books since 2010. So far 81 books were restored, and in the year 2018-19 another 45 books are being restored.
Preventive conservation of rare books in the BNHS Library:
In BNHS Library, proper care of rare books has been taken right from the beginning as a part of preventive preservation by strictly observing the following steps.
- Round the clock Air conditioning: The library reference section area admeasuring about 500 sq. feet has been under controlled climatic conditions for last 5 years with the help of three air conditioners that run on a rotational basis for 24 hours.
- Pest Management Program: There is an annual contract for pest control for general infestation, rodents and termites.
- Cleaning of library shelves is done on a regular basis using Vacuum cleaner.
- Smoke detectors have been installed to prevent any damage to library.
- 5. The collection is frequently monitored for its condition on a continuous basis.
Curative Conservation of rare books in the BNHS Library:
The curative conservation work of rare books is being done by the paper conservation team of “Himalayan Society for Heritage and Art Conservation” under the guidance of Mr Anupam Sah, a well known conservationist. All material and chemicals used by the team were of archival quality and of conservation standard. Temporarily a conservation lab is set up on 2nd floor of Hornbill house.