Department of Conservation and Restoration

The conservation laboratory of the Gazi Husrev-Beg Library is the largest and best-equipped laboratory for the conservation of paper and library materials in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The laboratory was designed in 2005 in the old Library building using less expensive equipment and less space than today. In the new building, the 300 m2 conservation laboratory consists of four main rooms, three storage rooms and one office. Sections were formed according to the type of the procedure, so following sections can be found: section for manual conservation, section for machine conservation, sterilization room and bookbindery.

The term conservation is derived from the Latin word “conservatio”, which means preservation, maintenance, salvation from decay. Conservation is all physical and chemical protection measures to prolong the life of the object of conservation, slow down the natural aging process and repair existing damage to the object of conservation. These are the processes of mechanical cleaning, washing, neutralization, strengthening of the structure, removal of stains, monitoring of storage conditions in the depot and similar. Restoration is the action of returning the appearance of the damaged document to its previous condition, which can be carried out manually or by machine. Conservation and restoration eliminate the consequences of the action of biological, chemical and physical factors of paper degradation. Interventions are performed with verified material and similar to the original material. A very important aspect of the book conservation is the restoration of the binding process that we perform in our bookbindery.

The conservation treatments used are not to damage or weaken the material at any cost because the basic principle of conservation is the focus on care and better preservation of the authenticity of the object on which conservation is performed. In the conservation laboratory, all written cultural monuments on paper are kept from decay, starting with manuscripts, old printed books, documents, art material – pictures with calligraphy (levhas), photographs and geographical maps.


The main task of the conservation laboratory is to take care of the rich collection of manuscripts and documents written in Ottoman Turkish language, a valuable collection of old printed books in oriental languages, old photographs and levhas, and other historically important non-library materials documented on paper.