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Barbara Goldsmith Preservation Division

NYPL staff charged with caring for the
Bill of Rights examine the national treasure.
/ Credit: Jonathan Blanc

The New York Public Library has one of the oldest, largest, and most comprehensive institutional preservation programs in the United States, with activities dating back to the 1911 opening of the landmark Stephen A. Schwarzman Building. The Barbara Goldsmith Preservation Division cares for the Library’s permanent assets in all formats housed in more than ninety buildings in the Bronx, Manhattan, and Staten Island, as well as a high-density storage facility in New Jersey. The Division preserves both the artifacts that comprise the Library’s vast and diverse collections as well as their intellectual content. The work done by Preservation Division staff significantly contributes to the long-term survival of the Library’s renowned collections held in trust for public access and use.

Program update: with Mellon Foundation funding, the NYPL recently completed a comprehensive audio and moving image assessment. NYPL holds one of the largest and the most important audio and moving image (AMI) collections in the world; however, the future of these collections is at risk by the very nature the media’s vulnerability to decay and technological obsolescence. The final recommendations are being integrated into NYPL’s institution-wide strategic planning process with the recognition that sustainable, long-term preservation strategies for AMI collections will best serve the Library’s collections and users. Read the project overview, and watch this page for more information.

Preservation Units

  • Audio Preservation

    Preservation of sound recordings is achieved through a multifaceted program of conservation, reformatting and documentation.

  • Collections Care

    Collections Care assesses, treats, and provides protective enclosures for collection items; manages mass deacidification; and shares in collection disaster preparedness and recovery.

  • Conservation Treatment

    Conservators perform physical and chemical treatments on rare and special collections to ensure long-term survival and access for current and future generations.

  • Digital Preservation Development

    Digital preservation development and activities are a shared responsibility among the Library’s information technology, digital, curatorial and Preservation programs.

  • Field Services

    Field Services serves as the outreach center for staff and public, promoting and implementing preservation practices used to extend the life of Library and personal collections.

  • Moving Image Preservation

    The moving image studios produce preservation, access, and requested footage copies from a broad range of historic and current media formats.

  • Preservation Microfilming

    Preservation Microfilming preserves the intellectual content of at-risk collection materials by reformatting to microfilm, which may be converted from film to digital format through collaborative projects.

  • Registrars are responsible for the management and safety of the Library’s special collections during exhibitions and outgoing loans, and when in transit throughout the Library system.

About Preservation

Learn more about the Preservation Division

Preservation can be compared to a health care system because it involves preventative, diagnostic, clinical, and critical care services.

Outgoing Loan Program Guidelines

The Outgoing Loan Program for external exhibitions is coordinated by the Registrar’s Office within the Preservation Division. This program enables approved cultural institutions to borrow works from the NYPL's collections for display in their own exhibitions.

Audio and Moving Image Collections, Facilities, and Workflows Assessment

With Mellon Foundation funding, the New York Public Library (NYPL) undertook an audio and moving image assessment in 2013. The final recommendations are being integrated into NYPL’s institution-wide strategic planning process with the recognition that sustainable, long-term preservation strategies for AMI collections will best serve the Library’s collections and users.

Preservation Administration Fellowship

NYPL and Yale were awarded an IMLS leadership grant to prepare a host of fellows for careers in preservation administration.