By continuing to use this site, you agree to the use of cookies in accordance with our privacy policy.


Special Collections Research Center Brodsky Lecture Series

April 4, 2024 at 3:30pm5:00pm EDT

Bird Library, Peter Graham Scholarly Commons (Room 114)

This event has already occurred. The information may no longer be valid.

Alexis Hagadorn, Head of Conservation for the Columbia University Libraries, will present at the Syracuse University Libraries’ annual Brodsky Series for the Advancement of Library Conservation. The hybrid lecture, titled “Reuse, Repurpose, Recycle: A Conservator Reviews the Long History of Binding Waste” is being held in Bird Library as well as on Zoom. All events are free and open to the public. 

This talk will consider the long history of reused paper and parchment in bookbindings. Many of the earliest surviving examples of bookbindings make use of discarded manuscript fragments as structural components. Other ancient bindings have been lost to us precisely because the texts they were discovered to contain were considered more important than the book in its binding. Both the reuse of materials and the destruction of bindings to remove these printed and manuscript fragments have continued into the modern era. The lecture will present illuminating case studies of binding waste and describe alternatives to disassembly that allow both the textual fragment and its host book to be studied and preserved.

If you require American Sign Language services or other accommodations, please email Max Wagh at by March 20.

Alexis Hagadorn is the Head of Conservation for the Columbia University Libraries, where she has worked as a rare books conservator since 1997. She received an A.B. from Barnard College, and an M.S. and Advanced Certificate in Conservation from the Columbia School of Library Service, spending a final placement year in the Conservation Laboratory of Trinity College Dublin under the direction of Anthony Cains. She worked as a rare books conservator at Yale University, also serving as the first head of Collection Care in its Library. In her role within the Columbia University Libraries, she leads a team of conservators and technical staff who treat and care for all of the physical collections, and she frequently consults on questions of material identification and analysis. She lectures on medieval manuscripts at Columbia and is currently chair of the University Seminar in Material Texts. Outside of Columbia, she serves on the visiting faculty of the Conservation Center of the Institute of Fine Arts, NYU, and the Pratt School of Information, where she lectures on library conservation, parchment making, and the history of bookbinding.


This event was first published on January 17, 2024 and last updated on February 21, 2024.

Event Details