The Clean Sweep Project 2011

The Clean Sweep was exactly that - the sweeping clean and boxing of over 50,000 Rare Books in preparation for safe transit to an upgraded and refurbished on-site store. This wonderful collection represents a journey from the earliest printed books in the Irish language to collectors’ editions of Irish authors such as Swift, Yeats and Joyce.

Dusty, desiccated, physically damaged or vulnerable to damage: the pre-project condition of the Rare Book Collection indicated that environmental factors combined with usage were the primary sources of deterioration. Our 4 project staff worked in 2 teams, cleaning and surveying over 200 books daily. While one person cleaned each book externally and internally using conservation vacuums, brushes and smoke sponges, the other digitally measured the book and recorded its unique details in the project database. The condition of each book was also recorded to identify future conservation treatment priorities. The data was then downloaded to our box making machine, where it was converted into designs and boxes were cut, printed and creased, ready to protect the cleaned books.

The slideshow below follows the Clean Sweep process from beginning to end and see the team in action in our Conservation Film:

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