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ALA 2010 roundup: Preservation Week Program

Program: Preservation Week 2010

The first annual Preservation Week took place in May9-15, 2010. By all accounts it was a success. Next year’s Preservation Week is scheduled for April 24-30, 2011. ALA will be supporting it with an @YourLibrary campaign.

Three people outlined their events for 2010, then the audience brainstormed slogans and ideas for the 2011 event.

Yvonne Carignan, Library Director and Head of Collections, Historical Society of Washington, described the preservation clinics they created for the public. Experts in books, paper and photographs consulted with the public and gave talks on various preservation topics. They had displays on the topics of conservation, book repair and preservation framing. Their publicity campaign was low-cost and consisted of announcements via email, the member’s program calendar, mailings, flyers and word of mouth.

Carignan identified several “hooks” they used to get people interested in the event. These were preserving your digital photos of Snomageddon, preserving religious archives, preservation for parents, condition issues for book collectors, and preservation matting and framing.

She identified a few things they would do differently.

  • pull in partners sooner
  • involve public libraries and local archives
  • get funding for more publicity
  • take advantage of website and FB page
  • take more advantage of the ALA Preservation Week website
  • feature preservation videos
  • Use the ALCTS Preservation Week event toolkit

Preservation Week events helped reach a new audience and they were able to distribute more information and thus gain more support for preserving cultural heritage collections. She urged everyone to have evaluation forms available as they learned a lot from theirs this year.

Jill Rawnsley consulted for the New Jersey State Library for their Preservation Week events. They developed a train-the-trainers event that provided preservation strategies for caring for family treasures, developed outreach programs, provided resources for fostering these programs, and developed low cost and low-labor events.

The main theme was that preservation is about saving memories. Using that theme their mission was to link to museums, historical societies, archives and other libraries. Through the events the library hoped to identify partnership opportunities, connect the public to their cultural heritage, connect the public to their collections, and reach new audiences. The attendees were mainly librarians and archivists.

Several vendors sent information and/or samples. Gaylord send copies of their “Guide to Collections Care,” and Metal Edge and Archival Products also sent materials and samples.

Rawnsley identified several areas of interest and groups that could be targeted for next year:

  • genealogists
  • collectors
  • general public
  • baby boomers
  • children
  • schools
  • Boy and Girl Scouts
  • community centers
  • topic for anniversaries, alumni day, historical events
  • ideas: sharing family recipes and saving recipe cards; sharing family traditions; digital photographs; genealogy class; children’s keepsakes and programming

Ruth Shasteen, Librarian, Central Assumption and Moweaqua High School (Moweaqua, IL), talked about their event titled “Mining More in Moweaqua.” This was funded in part by an IMLS LSTA grant, and they partnered with the Moweaqua Public Library, the Moweaqua Coal Mine Museum, the Moweaqua Historical Society, and the Central A&M School District.

The 1932 Christmas Eve mining accident killed 54 miners. The generational memory of the disaster and its supporting documentation were at risk of disappearing forever. The group’s goals were to preserve the historic photos, documents and historic artifacts of the event, and to collect interviews from those who witnessed or survived the event before they passed away (two died shortly after the video documentary was finished). The “Mining Memories” documentary was produced by local high school students who conducted the interviews and collected documents from 189-01940.

Other projected included the creation of a fifth-grade curriculum to help teach the history of the event and the town, a website, and a permanent public library exhibit. The documentary film is available through the public library.

They hired an archivist to survey and assess items for preservation, organize the historic documents, and develop a recording system for cataloging items at the Historical Society and Coal Mine Museum. The Lions Club contributed computers to the Coal Mine Museum to help with genealogical research.

Shasteen identified several important skill sets needed to pull this project off. The Project Director needed organizational skills, a passion for the project, time and patience and above all people skills. Their Partners needed a common passion, collaborative spirit and talents needed to accomplish the tasks.

She identified several benefits from the event: they accomplished their goals, created community spirit, preserved and created documentation, and developed intergenerational rapport. The main challenges were keeping everyone focused, balancing the needs of their partners, coordinating various facets of the project and working with volunteers.

Jeanne Drewes, Chief of Binding and Collections Care within the Preservation Directorate at the Library of Congress, and Karen Motylewski, IMLS Special Program Liaison to LC Preservation Directorate, facilitated a discussion to generate slogans and ideas for next year’s Preservation Week scheduled for April 24-30. They urge you to participate even if your event doesn’t fall within that week. A Preservation Week Task Force has been created to organize the event.

Their goals for next year:

  • every library will do at least one thing, however, small, to celebrate collections preservation week.
  • increase awareness of preservation basics
  • celebrate interest in personal, family, and community collections
  • increase belief in preservation importance and need
  • increase knowledge that libraries provide preservation information and help

Resources for event planners include:

Capitalize on Collections Care from Heritage Trust
Preservation@YourLibrary from ALA
Preservation Month, National Trust for Historic Preservation
SAA Preservation Week
Home Movie Day

    Ideas from audience to build on success from last year included possible slogans such as “Preserve It Or Lose It,” “Personal Treasures, Future History,” “Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow,” and “Got Stuff? Save It.”

    The ALA Preservation Week Toolkit has a lot of information on promoting your event including bookmarks you can download. They urge you to use social media like FaceBook, Twitter and your blog to publicize your event.

    Possible themes and idea boosters: Easter and Passover are that week, which are both family-friendly holidays that focus on tradition and family. Next year is the 10th anniversary of the publication of Double Fold by Nicholson Baker. May 1st is the day the preservation community celebrates May Day which focuses on disaster planning.

    Audience members urged people to go beyond your own institution and partner with  public libraries and archives, social clubs for adults and children, and religious organizations to promote preservation.


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