Archive Preservation and Salvage

Last Friday an engulfing fire broke out at the Glasgow School of Art Library. Completed in 1909 and now an A-listed building, the Charles Rennie Mackintosh building is recognised as being one of the finest examples of art nouveau in the world.

Firefighters were able to save around 70 per cent of the building’s contents during the blaze. But the famed Mackintosh library, which contained hundreds of rare periodicals and collections, was destroyed, along with countless works of art and the roof of the west wing.

We at Archives and Creative Practice mourn the devastation of the Library and the loss of students’ end of year show work, but we are glad to hear that the Archives remain untouched by fire and more importantly that no-one was injured.

In the wake of the fire and the damage its caused, it is perhaps a good time as any to talk about Archival Emergency Procedures. The British Library - Collection Care have many guideline booklets on library and archive collections. Two such booklets are Basic Preservation and Salvage, which cover procedural steps and recommendations for before and after a calamity.