WashU Spaces: University Libraries Preservation Lab

Photos and video: James Byard/Washington University

Have you ever highlighted a passage in a library book? Or spilled soggy cornflakes on its pages? Or “repaired” a torn cover with neon-pink duct tape?

Mary Whiteley, library technical specialist, has two messages for you.

One: Stop. And two: You are not alone.

“We’ve seen it all,” said Whiteley, a 23-year veteran of University Libraries. “I stopped being surprised a long time ago.”

Whiteley and her colleagues — Anthony De Marinis, librarian supervisor, and Rose Haynes, a library technical assistant  — make up the preservation unit of University Libraries at Washington University in St. Louis. Together, they repair and restore hundreds of damaged books every year.

In its second installment, WashU Spaces visits the University Libraries Preservation Lab on the West Campus. Click on the photo above to get a closeup look at the lab. 

Also, visit WashU Spaces to tour the office of Chancellor Mark S. Wrighton.