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by Archaeology Newsroom

The restoration of the books belonging to historical collections. The case of the public library of Andritsaina

The first stage of restoration of the rare books of the Public Library of Andritsaina commenced and was completed in the period between July and September of 1997. The nucleus of the Public Library of Andritsaina is the Collection of Konstantinos Nikolopoulos (1786-1841), who, just before his most unfortunate death, transferred his personal library from Paris, where he had compiled it, to Andritsaina, his native town. The donation,of about 6,500 volumes, comprises quite many incunabula and early editions of the 16th century as well as rare editions of the 17th and 19th century. The adventures and trials that the collection has undergone since 1840, when it was transferred to Andritsaina, were so many, that the need for its cleaning and care was urgent. Therefore, the first stage of work, in a long-term program of restoration, started immediately. Besides the cleaning of the books, a general estimate and recording of their damages had to be made, so that the future replacement of damaged books could be systematically carried out. To serve the purpose, a brief and concise form was prepared by the team of restorers, which was filled in after the cleaning of each book. The next stage included the processing by a computer of all the information included in the forms. The restoration of a book, regardless of its size, is an extremely expensive and time-consuming enterprise. Therefore,in the case of printed books, their rarity and historical importance must be taken into consideration, regardless of price, before they are restored.