ALA Notes: Book and Paper Interest Group

Overview of 2007 Survey of Conservation Practitioners
Whitney Baker, University of Kansas
Liz Dube, University of Notre Dame
Library Resources and Technical Services 54:1 (2010), 21-33.
Book and Paper Group Annual 29 (2010), 143-160.
  • as you might expect, “special collections only” conservators employ more complex treatments than do hybrid conservators that do “general collections only” conservators.
  • practitioner training most strongly predicted complexity of treatments performed as standard practice
  • hybrid conservators and hybrid facilities represent middle ground
  • from the discussion: time to do another survey (already?)
Panel Discussion: Conservation on the Move 
  • needed more space for quickly growing preservation activities
  • limitations of what was possible to the current facility (no venting, no renovations, etc.)
  • plans began for a shared conservation facility (collaboration btw. University Library, University Art Museum, Office of Architect, Kluge-Ruhe Aboriginal Art Museum)
  • collaborative facility planning slow, so University Library went ahead with planning
  • had to re-think plans for hybrid lab when promised lab size slashed from 2400 sq. ft. to 700; also decided to do only special collections in this new facility and leave general collections on-site in a fabulous but unwanted room.
  • overall, eight spaces in four buildings on Grounds
  • challenges: too far away to be included in development tours, no standard University services (recycling), and Dell is not a permanent home (swing space)
  • created a “Faces and Spaces” outreach poster to help library staff know which staff worked in which space (and what they did)
See Cathy’s article (not online yet) in Library Resources and Technical Services 54:4 (2010).
  • preservation moved off-site to make way for a coffee shop in the main library
  • surveyed ARL libraries in 2008-2009: 75 libraries still on campus with no plan to move; 5 thinking about moving; 4 with plans underway to move; 10 who had already moved
  • follow-up interview of those who had already moved offsite
    • service levels did not change (were able to provide the same level of treatment, boxing, etc. as previously, with the exception of the first or second year start-up negotiations on transport, workflow, etc.)
    • pay student assistants $1-$2 more per hour with longer shifts and fewer days
    • advantages: clean, purpose-built space
    • 7 of the 10 were near / next-to high density or offsite storage
    • challenges: out of touch, fewer tours and visits, out of sight / out of mind, wasting time going back and forth to campus for meetings
  • new offsite lab is three times as large as old
  • 12 conservation staff when merged and moved; plan was that there would be 32 eventually
  • planning for 30 years of growth — doing their best to have the people that succeed current staff to be able to meet needs and growth
  • wonderful (huge) light table with multiple, dimmable lights and frosted glass tops
  • photo doc studio with adjustable tables, overhead and stand lights, 3D setups, and digital imaging and printing capabilities
  • disaster recovery room with its own HVAC system, biological fume hood, freezer, drying and pressing stations
  • separate dirty room for leather work, wood, metal, dye or color work, tool storage
  • collections storage vault with flat, 3D, oversize, and vertical storage with separate HVAC with backup generator
  • adjustable benches have locking casters, hydraulic cranks, and phenolic resin table tops
  • custom drying racks fit under tables, board shears have table extenders with storage underneath
  • heavy presses stored on moveable tables with locked casters
  • collections care lab grew 2.5 times size; Kasemake machine got its own room
  • registrar’s office with dedicated loading docks

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