Head of preservation travels 7,000 miles to save 80,000 rare books

Randy Silverman, head of the preservation department at the J. Willard Marriott Library, recently returned from the country of Georgia, where he visited the Tbilisi State University Library to salvage more than 80,000 rare books. The books belonged to Germany prior to WWII and were confiscated by the Soviet Army at the end of the war. Written in several different languages including Latin, German, Russian and French, some of the books dated back to the 16th century. The one thing they had in common was they all were in dire need of attention, as a mold problem had been festering in the library for more than 15 years. Silverman is not only a book conservator with more than 30 years of experience mending and caring for books, but he also has done extensive disaster remediation. During his nine-day visit to Tbilisi, he worked with librarians, conservators, architects and engineers to create a plan for halting the mold, cleaning the books and creating a mold-free environment for their long-term preservation.

Randy Silverman | librarian, J.Willard Marriott Library | Phone: 801-585-6782 | Email: