DeLibro is highly skilled in Book and Paper Conservation. Now located in Gisborne in New Zealand, DeLibro is looking to preserve and promote the cultural Heritage worldwide. Conserving is a way to protect a source, to give an access previously impossible to a document and therefore to carry on the life of the objects which could get damaged and disappear from the knowledge of Humanity.
The Atelier DeLibro does exist since 2010 in Grenade, Spain. Specialized in Book and Paper Conservation, DeLibro cooperates with several institutions as museums, libraries, archives, but also collectors and antics bookshops. The Atelier DeLibro worked for example with the University of Grenade, The municipal Archives, the Museum Casa de los Tiros, the antics bookshop Reciclaje and other important figures of the world of the book in this region. But thanks to various contacts and multiple experiences in France, Spain, Latin America, New-Zealand and even in the Antarctic, the Atelier DeLibro gained a international view of the profession and is always looking for being part of European or international projects. After six years in France, where the studio was set up in Nantes at the 16Ter (a center of conservation where different conservators share their specialities and work together to improve the quality and the recognition of their role), the Atelier has recently moved to New Zealand in 2020 and is now trying to share challenging and enriching collaborations from Gisborne.
After getting a Master in History at the University La Sorbonne in Paris, Aline Leclercq focuses on specializing in Book and Paper Conservation. Having already an academic background, she trains during two years in private and public studios, in order to learn directly from professionals. She makes several trainings in bookbinding and book and paper conservation. She passes the French technical exam, CAP “Arts de la reliure et de la dorure” that she prepared by herself. She decides then to join the course led by Olivier Maupin at the Ateliers d’Arts Appliqués du Vésinet in Paris in Book Conservation for a year. This first step in Aline Leclercq’s education has been very beneficial, especially in getting technical skills. In order to increase the value of this savoir-faire and to strengthen scientific and ethical skills, Aline studies at the Camberwell College of Arts of London and gets a Master in Book Conservation in 2007. Well trained in both technical and academic sides of the profession, she begins her career in France as a conservator employed in a private studio and a conservation teacher. Called by an other project, she moved for six years to the South of Spain practising as a freelance conservator where she gains technical experience and knowledge collaborating with different conservation teams in Grenade. From 2015 in France, she continues to perfect her skills at the 16Ter, sharing multiple projects with other conservators, also working in mixed medias.
ETHICS AND VISION OF CONSERVATION
For more than thirty years now, Book and/or Paper Conservation do exist as specialities. Before integrated to bookbinding or to conservation in general, there is today a proper way to train and to define these specialities, respecting ethical and technical rules valuable for the entire conservation world. Aware of the specificity of taonga, Atelier DeLibro will adapt the way of conserving to the people, traditions and mana of the object.
Ethical neutrality: The conservator’s work should influence as less as possible the originality, the identity and the history of the document.
Technical neutrality: all products and materials used for the treatment of an item have to be neutral (principally non acidic), in order to promote a well-preserved document and to avoid future risks. The technical intervention (methods used) of the conservator has to be neutral, which means not changing the original.
All materials and products used for a conservation work have to be reversible; every treatment applied to an item must be potentially removed if necessary in the future.
The intervention on a document has to be stable physically and chemically speaking; the treatment has to be stable time while without deforming internally or externally the document. That is why, it is very important after a treatment to advice and guide the owner to ensure that the work will be well-stored and the stability of the document guaranteed (environment, exhibition conditions, storage conditions, etc.)
These basic rules enable a respectful preservation of the documents; it is not only about participating to an ephemeral “rescue” of an object, which can be dangerous for the documents but also the preservation of historical sources.
Several official publications establish and fix these ideas. The most important is the Venice Charter from 1964 (presented by the ICOMOS organization during the Second International Congress of architects and technicians of historic monuments); even if the text focuses on the architectural conservation, the ideas defended and expressed must lead all conservation work in general.
The AIC organization also published a “Code of Ethics and Guidelines for practice” presenting the basic rules that every conservator must follow. This text is available online.
You can also find all these ideas about the Ethics of conservation in the specialized literature, especially the Cesare Brandi and Salvador Muñoz Viñas publications. (refer to the Bibliography on the website).
LEVELS OF INTERVENTION AND GOALS
There are three levels of intervention
All the actions applied in order to avoid or minimize the deterioration or future loss on an object. They take place in the context or the environment of a cultural item but more frequently of a whole collection, whatever its age or condition. These actions are indirect and do not intervene on the materials or the structure of the item. They do not change its appearance neither. Examples: actions to insure a well-done inventory, storage, manipulation, packing, transport, safety, environmental control (such as lighting, humidity, pollution, infestation), emergency plans, staff training, information to the public, conformity with juridic norms.
All the actions directly undertaken on the cultural item itself or a collection in order to stop an active process of deterioration or to act on its structure. These actions take place only when the existence of the items are short-term threatened, because of high fragility or rapid destruction. These actions can sometimes modify the appearance of the items.
Examples : disinfection of textiles, removing the salt from ceramics, paper de-acidification, checked drying of wet archeological materials, stabilization of corrosive metals, consolidation of wall paintings.
All the actions directly undertaken on a cultural document, singular and in a stable condition, in order to improve its assessment, understanding and use. These actions take place only when the item lost a part of its meaning or its function because of deterioration or previous reforming interventions. They are based on the respect of the original materials. They mainly change the appearance of the item.
Examples of actions of Conservation: retouching a painting, putting together the fragments of a broken sculpture, reforming a basketwork object, fill the missing parts of a glass vase.*
*Definitions from the Terminology established by the Resolution adopted by the ICOM-CC members for the 15th triennial Conference, New Delhi, 22-26 of September 2008.
Goals of Conservation
The conservator’s work can reach different goals, depending on the condition and the future use of the object, but also according to the finances and the intentions of the owner. The conservator looks for stabilizing the condition of the item and stopping its degradation in order to help to its transmission to the next generations. In general, a book needs a supplementary intervention on the structure of the object for being manipulable and accessible (digitalization or public access). A document conserved for an exhibition or a collector would also suppose an intervention on the aesthetic of the object.
In order to define the objectives of the conservator and the level of intervention of the treatment, the Atelier DeLibro will establish a quote, made of a full and detailed documentation of the document.