Conservation & Research

Collection care requires an intense understanding of the history of the book and of manuscripts. Conservation decisions concerning the treatment of rare books and manuscripts cannot be made without knowledge of all aspects of the item. Binding structures should be understood, materials studied and the rarity considered. Many enquiries to Dr Williams's Library from book historians have led to a greater understanding of the type of bindings owned and collected by dissenters and they often prove to be unusual among the surviving sample. Libraries have often chosen to rebind books without consideration of the loss to our understanding of the History of the Book. Although Dr Williams's Library's collections are often in poor condition, due to formerly unstable environmental conditions and poor handling, they offer much historical evidence to fill gaps in our understanding of book history.