Rare Skills for Rare Books: Book conservation education

Streaming Media

Document Type





Book conservation, conservation education, book arts, bookarts, bookbinding, conservation, Brodsky Series, Chela Metzger




Archival Science | Art and Materials Conservation | Art Practice | Book and Paper | Library and Information Science

Additional Information

“European hand bookbinding practice does not form the best foundation on which to build or even graft the principles of book conservation.” Christopher Clarkson 1978 Even in our screen-driven age, the book still carries monetary, artistic and symbolic value, in addition to its intellectual content. What skills must a book conservator have to treat damaged rare books properly? Is the restoration/conservation of books a craft related to bookbinding? And if so, what is the best way to teach that craft? I have been teaching book conservation at the graduate level since 2001, but to me these questions remain unsettled and unsettling. I hope to bring together observations from my life as a librarian, bookbinder, book conservator, and educator to explore the skills needed for book conservation in the 21st century.

Consuela "Chela" Metzger is a librarian, bookbinder and book conservator currently teaching full-time at the Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record University of Texas at Austin School of Information. After completing an internship in rare book conservation at the Library of Congress in 1994, Ms. Metzger worked as a project conservator for over five years at the Huntington Library rare book collections in San Marino, Calif. She also worked as one of the teachers for the Lampadia/Getty-sponsored conservation education program for visiting South American conservators. In Fall, 2000, Ms. Metzger conducted a 3 month Fulbright Lectureship in Argentina. She occasionally teaches workshops in special collections conservation in Latin America, and writes articles and book reviews in the field of book arts and bookbinding in the US. She has a particular interest in Latin American print culture, the history of books and reading, and the material culture of record keeping structures used in archives and accounting. She was also a member of The Bonefolder's editorial board.

See more on the Brodsky Series Page at: https://library.syr.edu/scrc/programs/brodsky.php

ChelaMetzger-LectureSlides.pdf (6819 kB)
Lecture Slides

ChelaMetzger-WorkshopSlides.pdf (6562 kB)
Workshop Slides