Professional Development

In the 'Preservation Activities' Category...

Advocating for Collection Preservation – NCPC Annual Conference

Wednesday, November 23, 2011 12:19 pm

NCPC Panel Discussion

Craig: On Friday, November 18, Vicki and I traveled to the Friday Center in Chapel Hill for the North Carolina Preservation Consortium (NCPC) Annual Conference. The theme this year was “Advocating for Collection Preservation”.

Vicki: We’ll share our thoughts and impressions to give you an idea of what we learned!

V: The first speaker was Ember Farber from the American Association of Museums. She spoke eloquently about ways to advocate for our work. As the Grassroots and Advocacy Manager of AAM, she often works with elected officials and shares her concerns and needs with them directly, hoping that they will use their influence to pass a bill or make legislation to benefit museums. Her department also issues alerts on legislation that impacts museums, either via email or social media.

While we in private academic libraries may not often get to lobby with elected officials, Ember did have strategies and tips to help anyone advocate for their collections:

*Activity begets activity- work on at least one project or contact at least one person who can help influence the powers that be to help preserve your collections

*Be ready with your list of “asks” at all times; you never know when you’ll cross paths with someone who can help advocate for you and your collections.

*Pick one advocacy activity or way to share the value of our work with the public. Get the word out about what you’re doing and how important it is.

We all then participated in a group activity. We had to come up with an “elevator speech” that would help “sell” our work and collections to an elected official or person of influence. We practiced on each other and will remember the point for future real life situations.

C: Julie Mosbo, Preservation Librarian at Southern Illinois University, Carbondale spoke on Preservation Week. Julie is the chair of the ALA Working Group for Preservation Week, which is a nascent program to focus attention of preservation issues and needs. Julie announced the birth of Preservation Week came from the Heritage Health Index, which identified a large number of library materials that needed preservation and very few staff to perform this needed work. Preservation Week is largely focused on individuals with personal collections who need help. The PW group uses all sorts of social media to get the word out (Facebook, Twitter) but also directs their outreach to ALA Sections and has an active blog. This year, the PW schedule has a theme for each day of the week, which focuses on audiovisual, textile or photographic preservation.

V: I was amazed to find that the Heritage Health Index report identified approximately 630 MILLION institutional items that need attention! It definitely helped me know that we aren’t alone as far as having many more items that the number of staff can address. It also made a lot of sense to me that if the Preservation Week effort can help to start conserving materials while they are still in peoples’ homes, the materials will be in better shape once they come to the archives, museums, etc. It was also encouraging to learn that participating in PW has increased. There have only been two PW’s so far, but in 2010 there were 63 known participating institutions, and in 2011 there were 100. Hopefully the numbers will continue to grow.

C: After a great lunch, there was a lightning round of speakers on several topics:
-David Goist, a painting conservator in private practice, spoke about the Collections Assessment Program (CAP). This program provides technical assistance for small to medium sized museums. The NEH Preservation Assistance Grants for Libraries mirrors the CAP program for the library world. These two programs can help assess collections and usually involves an on-site visit.
-Deborah Jakubs, Duke University Librarian, spoke about preservation advocacy. Deborah spoke about how much donors love their Preservation Lab and that is one of the first places she takes them. This gives donors the idea that we are both protecting the past and reaching for the future in our efforts, in a tangible way.
-Hal Keiner, the first head of the Traveling Archivist Program, spoke about his efforts as he travels North Carolina helping small institutions. Hal provides professional guidance to repositories holding special collections. This includes everything from and assessment to teaching metadata to providing materials housing. This impressive program is meeting these small programs where the rubber meets the road. Hal provides help with: storage, lighting, humidly/environment, finding aid creation and supplies.
-LeRae Umfleet, from the NC Department of Cultural Resources provides support for programs in the 950 cultural institutions across our state. The two programs she focused on was Connecting to Collections and NCEcho. These two programs provide training and advocacy.

V: The lightning rounds were very informative, and a bit longer than typical ones (15 minutes each)! So the speakers weren’t too rushed and shared good details. Of particular interest were:

*David Goist’s slides showing the Tobacco Farm Center and their facilities as well as the ways he helped them to better care for their materials

*Deborah Jakubs’ (director of Duke University libraries) talk about how committed she is to supporting special collections and preservation of materials. As Craig mentioned, she make the conservation lab a main stop on her tours for trustees, possible donors and any tour she gives. Donors then see how traditional functions and still important. She said that she advocates for preservation because it “enables access, enables scholarship, preserves cultural heritage and fulfills our mission of protecting information and collections”. She also stated that it is important to be aware of the limitations of technology and how they can affect access. She summed up her support of collections preservation saying, “We can’t lose sight of the basic function of preservation by focusing on the glitzy new trends… We have to convey the fragility of digital anything… Let’s not lose sight of the print world as we zoom into the digital future.”

*Hal Keiner’s (The Travelling Archivist) descriptions of “teachable moments” that he had when working with an historical site. He shared information with them about changing the UV filters on fluorescent tubes every 5 years, what kinds of proper storage enclosures to use, how to use drapes to cut down on the amount of light reaching a display, and how to use “fabulous fakes” (i.e. copies from a color copier) in the displays instead of originals.

*LeRae Umfleet’s enthusiastic presentation on suggestions from the NC Department of Cultural Resources on how to find support for collections. Some ideas include helping with exhibits on conservation, hosting presentations for family heirloom care, asking people to “adopt an artifact” so they will have a direct connection to helping preserve it, and having different “elevator pitches” ready to give to different people, depending on their interests and how they can help you.

C: Eryl Wentworth, the Executive Director of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) spoke about their advocacy and outreach efforts. Eryl said we are ‘at war with a mouse’ (Disney); at war with a disposable society (why save?) and at war with our economy (no funding). Wentworth said we are strongest when we collaborate. Eryl spoke about some of AIC’s efforts at outreach : CooL (Conservation online) and conservators-converse.org. Her recommendations were to be mission driven; promote your strengths; always send a positive message; engage others by talking and listening; continually enlarge your circle of supporters and seek collaborations.

V: I appreciated Eryl’s recommendations, and was pleased to note that we are trying to follow several of those ideas in special collections currently. Her comments reinforced that we are on the right track as we move into the future.

It seems that when budgets are tight, libraries, museums, archives and historic sites become viewed as nice “extras”, but not as necessities. While I’m sure none of us at ZSR would agree with that, that sentiment is why we must continually advocate for what we do to preserve what we have; so that we can assure the long term survival of historic information and resources. We were glad to be part of this conference and hear from our colleagues that we are not alone in many of our struggles, and that there are resources to help us continue to do the best we can to preserve the materials entrusted to our care.

The Preservation Institute at the Library of Congress

Tuesday, July 26, 2011 2:44 pm

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To borrow and slightly change a line from Ben Stiller in Meet the Parents, I’d say this workshop was “strong… to very strong.” The Preservation Institute is taught by top specialists from the Library of Congress. The Library of Congress brought out some of their big guns for this week-long workshop. The sessions were held in the James Madison Building, with tours to the Jefferson and Adams Buildings as well.
The institute is geared towards federal institutions, but there were non-federal libraries there as well (University of Cincinnati and Cincinnati Public). The first day was great. Diane van der Reyden, Director of Preservation of the Library of Congress discussed preservation management. Some of her more interesting points were that the Library of Congress is still working on digitization solutions and have no definitive method. What!? That makes me feel a lot better as we at ZSR still try to improve digitization and incorporate best practices as we do this activity. Diane said the LOC doesn’t particularly like “machine dependent” formats-because without a specific machine, access in the future might be difficult. They have, however come up with some ingenious ways around this problem. IRENE is a machine which reads broken or damaged vinyl, acetate discs or wax cylinders and coverts this into an image which can then be converted into sound.
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We also had presentations on pest controls, the environment, and disaster recovery from Nancy Lev-Alexander and Ben Bahlmann from the Preventive Conservation section and along the way, we got a tour of the LOC stacks (crowded with book trucks and books on the floor) and a balcony view of the circular LOC Reading Room. The Library of Congress has the same problems ZSR has: leaky pipes and a faulty HVAC system. Day one finished with a hands on disaster recovery exercise with Alan Haley, Senior Rare Books Conservator and Andrew Robb, coordinator of the LOC’s Emergency Response Team.

Day two featured a group of presentations on collections care, library binding, fundraising and exhibits.
IMG_1048We got a behind the scenes look at the Collections Care lab and various enclosures-such as one for a piggy bank from Lexington NC. A new Civil War exhibit called The Last Full Measure: Civil War Photographs (http://myloc.gov/exhibitions/civilwarphotographs/pages/default.aspx) features hundreds of ambrotypes and tintypes of soldiers. The exhibit is very poignant and has the feel of a shrine. An exhibit specialist described mounting The Last Full Measure and showed us samples of book cradles and document mounts we could make ourselves.

Day three saw us tackling digitization. We began with a presentation from the managers of the LOC remote storage facility at Fort Meade, Maryland. They have about six high bay facilities-each larger than ZSR’s one. We followed with a visit to the LOC Internet Archive project where they have 10 Scribe book scanners churning out digital copies of pre-1922 titles from their general collections.
IMG_1134 So far, they’ve scanned over 93,000 titles. It was an amazing operation to see. They confirmed that standards for resolution are in flux, something we’ve begun to realize at ZSR. They’ve abandoned using uncompressed TIFF files ( a heresy they admitted, but they insist it is a good heresy) in favor of RAW files which they convert to the jpg2000 format. In the afternoon, we had presentations about Rare Book Conservation and had a visit to their lab where we saw samples of supported (case bound) and unsupported (Ethiopian) binding styles, leaf casting and numerous other unique treatments.
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Day four was focused on paper and photographic conservation. We heard a presentation from Susan Peckham, Paper Conservator in the Conservation Division. Susan discussed paper history, paper composition, sizing, inks and printing methods. Susan also described problems with paper based collections such as foxing, light damage, ink burn-through, and the “inherent vice” of the wood pulp papers manufactured from 1850-1900. We also heard Dana Hemmenway, Senior Photographic Conservator. Dana described the structure of photographs, a history of photo types( daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes and paper photographic prints). She had examples of paper photo prints as well: salted paper prints, albumen prints, collodian, and silver gelatin prints. We also discussed their hazards and inherent problems over time. In the afternoon, both Susan and Dana held problem-solving sesions in the paper lab.
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During the paper session, I was at a station with a 1780 letter written to George Washington. I was amazed at it’s great condition (which had been prolonged by a Library of Congress repair a hundred years ago called “silking”).
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The final day I heard a talk on Digital Preservation from Leslie Johnston, Chief of Repository Development at LOC. Leslie defined digital preservation as “the broad range of activities meant to extend the usable life of machine-readable computer files.” Leslie was quick to point out the different between digitization-an activity primarily focused on access-and digital preservation. She made the pitch to replicate files in geographically dispersed locations, and on different storage media and systems in order to have the best chance for these files to survive. Leslie was all business. They use Jhove in the scanning and preservation of files by using format validation. Leslie also outlined how the University of Maryland is spearheading an area called “digital forensics” at their center which insures the security of digital materials that are transmitted. Matthew Barton from the Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center in Culpepper, Va spoke on audio and sound preservation. Matthew’s presentation was delightful in describing their attempts to conserve audio recordings on was cylinders, lacquer discs, wire recordings, tape recordings and digital audio tape.
Amy Gailick, also from the Packard Campus, presented on moving image preservation and care. She described the film types and the very advanced cold storage area at the Packard Campus in Culpepper, VA. The have storage areas for some film materials at are held at 25 degrees.

In the afternoon, I met the closest thing to a Preservation Rock Star there is: Dr. Frenella France. Dr. France uses hyper-spectral imaging to examine documents and highlight early versions or corrections.
IMG_1267She has isolated a change Thomas Jefferson made to the rough draft of the Declaration of Independence and many other discoveries, such as Abraham Lincoln’s thumbprint on the Gettysburg Address. We also got a tour of the mass deacidification unit. IMG_1254 This unit takes acidic books and ‘washes’ them in an alkaline solution which neutralizes the acidic materials in the paper. They were washing comic books the day we were there! As we were leaving the lab, we paused in the hallway by a bunch of old card catalog units. I glanced down and recognized a familiar last name…WOW!
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One thing I was in awe of was the beauty of the Jefferson Building. Every inch is covered with hand-painted niches, tiled vaults, coffers with gold leaf, stained glass, sculpture and even WPA paintings.
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What were the take-aways? I was able to have some of the staff read the ZSR Disaster Plan and COOP Plan and get constructive feedback. A discussion with the Internet Archive manager told me that the standards for digitization are in flux (something we suspected). Digital preservation will be more important as time goes on for all institutions as born digital material accumulates. I learned some easy-to-do techniques for preserving photographs and paper materials and got some great ideas for exhibits. And…..I’m glad I don’t live in Washington!

All in all, it was a very fruitful week.

CERT Training

Monday, May 23, 2011 10:19 pm

Wanda and our tower of paper

Wanda and Craig ready to go

Wanda and Craig put out a fire

From Monday through Thursday of this week, several ZSR Staff (Wanda, Mary Beth, Travis, and Craig) are participating in CERT Training. CERT stands for Community Emergency Response Team. The concept for this group was conceived after 9/11. The idea is to have a cadre of trained individuals prepared to respond in times of need. The CERT group is part of an outreach program from FEMA called the Citizen Corps. CERT groups are trained to increase community involvement and to assist first responders. Community groups are trained in basic fire safety, disaster preparedness, search and rescue, etc. in order to be available to a community in need. Wake Forest has, for some time, wanted such a team-and after this week, this team will exist.
On our first day, we received an overview from Darrell Jeter (Forsyth County Emergency Management) and Fire Safety from Jim Young, a Forsyth County Fire Educator. We touched on subjects such as tornado and flood safety, disaster preparedness and basic fire safety, In the afternoon, we all had the chance to extinguish a fire under the supervision of the WFU Police and our local WFU Firemen. It was fun to watch each group of two “buddies” approach a fire together and put it out using a fire extinguisher (watch Travis and Cindy).

The rest of the week, we’ll continue to learn and practice basic safety and disaster response techniques followed by a concluding ‘disaster exercise’ on Thursday. I’m sure others will post about this educationally active week.

Audra and Craig at the United Way

Thursday, March 10, 2011 1:22 pm

On Thursday, March 10, Audra and Craig presented to the Forsyth County United Way Executive Council at the Red Cross on Colosseum Road. The United Way Executive Council is composed of over 20 local organizations and they are interested in both preservation and digitization. Our presentation was an abbreviated version of the talks we gave at Preserving Forsyth’s Past last year at various Forsyth County Public Libraries. We divided up the content and spoke on different aspects of digitization and preservation.

United Way Executive Board

Craig covered the basic storage environment (Temperature and Relative Humidity, Light, and Air Quality), storage options, suppliers and basic file formats and storage options of digital files. Audra discussed organizing a basic digitization project, digitization equipment and organizations that can help with the process, such as NC Echo and the new NC Digital Heritage Center. The crowd was very receptive and asked us a few questions at the end of the presentation.

Both of our presentations are on Slideshare:
Audra’s Presentation
Craig’s Presentation.

This was a great opportunity to reach out to local organizations who need help with preservation and digitization. Most of these groups, who serve humanitarian needs in our community, have little funding and no trained personnel. It is also a great continuation of the groundwork laid during Preserving Forsyth’s Past – where we trained the community to preserve and digitize their treasures.

Preserving Objects and Artifacts: Conservation Science, Collection Care and Outreach

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 4:47 pm

On Friday, November 5, the North Carolina Preservation Consortium held it’s annual conference at the Friday Center in Chapel Hill. The theme was centered around the preservation care of objects and outreach efforts to enlighten viewers about these efforts.

The first speaker was Chris Petersen, a volunteer at Winterthur Museum’s Scientific Research and Analysis Laboratory. What kind of person volunteers at a lab? In this case, a PhD in Organic Chemistry retired from Dupont. Chris showed analysis of various objects which helps with dating and dating these objects. Most of these objects, had a big question associated with them like the composition of the Liberty Bell or the date of manufacture of a Meissen (Germany) soup tureen. His explanations using organic chemistry diagrams were convincing, although puzzling to a non-chemist. He also had the comical duty of verifying a “Vampire Killing Kit” sent to him. All the Twilight and True Blood people’s ears perked up and a chill went through the crowd as he discussed this convincing fraud.

Jane Klinger, Chief Conservator at the US Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, DC followed. As Chief Conservator, Jane is responsible of the conservation and preservation management of the museum, archives and library collections. Interestingly, Jane started by saying the materials in their collection have little real value-but these materials are invaluable for Holocaust denial and evidence for verifying historic events. Jane used a series of objects from the Holocaust to tell her story of the multiple issues involved in preserving these materials. She began with Selma Scharzwald and her teddy bear. Selma, who went by the name “Sophie” named her teddy bear “Refugee” and kept it with her throughout the war as she and her mother took an assumed identity to escape persecution. This teddy bear became so popular that efforts were made to protect it from being ‘loved’ to death. Now, reproductions can be purchased in the museum shop. Other unique items, like “Schindler’s Violin” and the Lodz Ghetto model were removed from exhibition to protect them from the elements such as humidity and dust. Klinger described lots of give and take as they tried to balance their patrons desires to see artifacts with conservation needs.

Emily Williams, Conservator of Archeological Materials at Colonial Williamsburg described her project: Conservation : Where Art and Science Meet. This exhibit at Colonial Williamsburg describes the process conservators use to preserve objects and attempts to explain the how’s and why’s of their process. The video and podcast backup the ideas in this exhibit of identifying the issues in conservation, treating conservators as heroes and using case studies of objects.

The final presentation was by Christina Cole, the Andrew W. Mellon Conservation Fellow at the University of Delaware Art Conservation Program. Cristina explained the “three-legged stool” concept of art conservation: 1. Art History, 2. Studio Art and 3. Chemistry to educate their students. Graduates from their program are working in the best museums around the world.

This was a great conference-as usual-and well worth the trip to experience, learn and network.

Guild of Bookworkers Standards of Excellence Seminar- Tucson

Friday, October 15, 2010 4:46 pm

What, you may ask is the Guild of Bookworkers? Founded in 1906, it promotes hand binding and all the fields surrounding it. As their statement says: “The Guild still believes, as did its founders, that there is a responsibility among civilized people to sustain the crafts involved with the production of fine books.” They also have a blog! This is the 29th Standards of Excellence Seminar seminar. These are lectures and demonstrations by people in the craft who are at the peak of their abilities. Among them are: Jeff Altepeter, Bookbinding teacher at the North Bennett Street School in ; Ann Frellsen, Preservation Librarian at Emory and former colleague of Lauren Corbett; James Reid-Cunnngham, Chief conservator at the Boston Athenaeum Library; Bill Minter, who invented the ultrasonic encapsulating machine; Dominck Riley, an accomplished English binder, who has also made films on the subject which ZSR has in our collections; and Jesse Meyer Pergamena Parchment, who has appeared on the TV show “Dirtiest Jobs.”

On our first day, we visited a 18th century mission, San Xavier.

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This mission was built in the late 1700′s and is currently undergoing a huge restoration. We were able to see a restorer artwork on the altar of the church, which is covered with paintings from the 18th century-painted like frescoes-on the walls.

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It was hot, so many like Richard Spelker, from California, donned appropriate attire.
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During the evening, we were guests of the University of Arizona Library Special Collections.
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The Special Collections unit has a large space Lynn (and the entire ZSR Special Collections Team) would love.
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There is a large meeting room, a gallery and a secured reading room with controlled access and several separate consulting/research spaces. I met the director and had a nice discussion around the Philip Smith binding of James Joyces’ Ulysses.
The Special Collections Reading room was decked out with prize bindings, each with a printed catalog record.
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What follows is a few images of these bindings from U of A Special Collections:
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COOP After A Disaster- ALCTS Disaster Webinar

Thursday, August 19, 2010 2:56 pm

On Wednesday, August 18th, the Disaster Committee attended a webinar hosted by the ALCTS group as one of their series on disaster preparedness. Steve Kelley, Ellen Daugman, Scott Adair, Anna Dulin and Craig Fansler attended the webinar which was presented by Nancy Kraft from the University of Iowa Libraries. Ms. Kraft has been tried by fire (or water in this case). During 2008, the University of Iowa, which occupies both banks of the Iowa River was severely flooded. Kraft’s presentation was based on the evacuation, recovery and maintenance of library services developed during this flooding.

The abbreviation COOP stands for Continuity of Operations Plan. According to Nancy Kraft, a COOP Plan is a set of “guidelines that ensure an institution can carry on all essential functions in case of a natural or man-made disaster.” You’ll be happy to know that ZSR is one of the few libraries nationally which has such a plan, developed by each of our teams last year. The idea of such a COOP Plan is to be able to offer essential library services during a disruption. The ZSR COOP Plan establishes ways that we think library services can be continued during an emergency. In the case of the University of Iowa, the university had the COOP Plan in place.

Nancy Kraft stated that you need a COOP Plan to ensure you can carry on essential functions following a disaster. The goal is to reduce the adverse effects of a disruption and recover and restore critical functions. The plan should include essential functions, personnel and resources needed to continue operations. Kraft recommends focusing on the big questions first: mission essential functions, records management, and risk reduction. The COOP Plan should be part of the Disaster Plan and posted online. Libraries need a list of prioritized functions that must be continued under any and all circumstances. Kraft also recommended having redundancy by backing everything up off site, and having an off site location for continuing operations.

This off-site alternative site should have:

-computers, software and other communications equipment
-sufficient space so you are capable of performing essential functions
-be able to operate for 30 days
Kraft also added these suggestions:
-decide what records are essential and duplicate off site
-determine the responsibilities of all staff
-decide the delegation of authority ahead of time
-have a PR person
-think outside the box
-communicate regularly with staff and the public

I should add at this point that the ZSR COOP Plan does cover most of these suggestions.

Kraft described the conditions and circumstances of the 2008 flood in Iowa. There were three libraries located on either side of the Iowa River. Both were evacuated and flooded. Much of the collections were relocated to higher ground in the buildings or moved to remote storage. It has taken until this year for them to restore everything to pre-flood conditions. The University of Iowa Libraries divided their response into four categories for response priority:
1. Critical for the university
2. Critical for the libraries
3. Essential
4. Other
Several other institutions in the area received damage including the African-American Museum of Iowa, the Cedar Rapids Public Library and the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library.

As we’ve learned at ZSR, each disaster has it’s own problems and complexities. These unique events have caused our staff to scratch their heads and then come up with unique solutions. In Iowa, these flooded institutions also innovated to help continue their essential operations: book brigades transported 50,000 volumes to upper levels of the University of Iowa Library; after the library closed, staff retrieved and re-shelved books twice daily for patrons; the African American Museum of Iowa garnered alternative space with the Masons gratis; and the National Czech and Slovak Museum and Library moved their collections several times and even set up shop in the mall with the public library.

This was a useful workshop because it helped the Disaster committee see how a COOP Plan might be implemented in a disaster.

Links:

The University of Iowa COOP Plan

Heritage Preservation Disaster Info

“Preserving Forsyth’s Past” at The Society of North Carolina Archivists Conference

Saturday, March 6, 2010 11:00 am

Audra, Rachel and Craig at SNCA

On Friday, March 5th, three of us, Audra Eagle, Rachel Hoff (UNC-CH Medical Sciences Library) and I gave presentations at the Society of North Carolina Archivists Conference in Pinehurst, NC. A good-sized group of SNCA attendees were very welcoming to us as we described the instruction we’ve been doing in Preserving Forsyth’s Past.

Audra began by asking each of the attendees to describe their job and what they hoped to get from our presentation. Many of the people were interested in outreach and ways to enhance outreach at their institutions. This gave us a good idea of how to direct our presentation. Audra described how the project got started as a follow on to the Digital Forsyth grant. She gave a great overview of the planning and intent of the follow on grant project in which we are trying to help local institutions preserve and digitize their collections.

I described planning the educational component of Preserving Forsyth’s Past (PFP) and the Pilot Training Session of the grant. I covered the concept behind the first two components of our training: Preservation Concepts and Theory and Hands-on Preservation. Rachel described teaching the public and how much more challenging that can be than teaching to a library crowd. Barry Davis, who teaches the third component of PFP was given a ‘shout out’ as we described the digitization component of the program. During the presentation, we showed the attendees a link to all the presentations we used for PFP and ran a short video clip of our teaching on the screen above us.

We are half-way through the grant for Preserving Forsyth’s Past. We’ve taught two sessions at the Central and Lewisville Branches of Forsyth Public Library. Presentations will be made at the branches in Walkertown in April and back at Central in June. This presentation gave the three of us an opportunity to discuss what we’ve been doing in this project with colleagues. In addition, we were able to think together about how we want to go forward, what things we want to improve and hopefully make this project more successful and meaningful for the attendees.

Preserving Forsyth’s Past

Saturday, February 20, 2010 10:37 pm

Lewisville -Preserving Forsyth's Past

On Saturday, February 20th, Audra, Barry, Craig and Rachel Hoff (UNC-CH Medical Sciences Library) led 3 sessions on preservation and digitization at the Lewisville Branch, Forsyth Public Library. Giz, Audra and Craig surveyed the space a few weeks back and it proved to be a new, tech friendly space. Giz and Barry came early to set up the video recording equipment, and Craig brought his traveling preservation book repair kit. Merrikay Everett Brown, the Lewisville Branch Director welcomed the 30 participants. Audra then introduced each presenter and described the three 2-hour sessions: Preservation theory and terminology, Hands-on Preservation, and Digitization. Audra also mentioned the small grants available for local history organizations, such as the grants offered by NCPC.

Rachel Hoff then began discussing the basic tenets of preservation theory: Do no harm and reversibility. She didn’t linger too long on terminology or lingo but talked to the audience as if they were peers. This made the early Saturday morning crowd soften up and pay attention. Rachel spent time discussing adhesives, care and handling of materials, the environment (light, temperature and relative humidity, and air quality), pests, disaster planning and cleaning.

After lunch, during session #2, Rachel and Craig demonstrated basic preservation repairs: tipping in a loose page, repairing paper tears, text block consolidation and paperback repairs (Danielle Steele!). We also covered basic repair tools, technique and suppliers.

Barry Davis led session #3, demonstrating how to scan paper materials as well as digitizing cassettes and video tapes. This was of particular interest to the crowd. ZSR should be proud to have a talent like Barry, whose skills were evident throughout the day.

There will be two more sessions like today’s for Preserving Forsyth’s Past: in April and in June at the Walkertown and Central Branches.

Guild of Bookworkers Standards Seminar-part 2

Monday, November 2, 2009 6:59 pm

Tom Conroy discussing tool cleaning

Tom Conroy gave the first session of the second day on repairing tools. Tom is a book restorer and fine binder who spent 7 years in formal training under Anne and Theodore Kahle and also earned an MLIS from Berkeley. Tom currently teaches at the American Bookbinders Museum in San Francisco. Tom spent several hours talking about removing rust from clamps with citric acid (what you call Sprite), repairing wobbly brushes, and re-seating gouges. He explained how various files are made and how to use them. He led an engaging conversation about scissors (who would’ve thought?) and sharpening them using a file. He also repaired several finishing presses as we watched.
I think almost everyone at ZSR has seen my board shear-the large deadly looking cutter with a wooden table as you enter Preservation. Tom insisted the best way to sharpen that tool was to cut a piece of thin brass sheet with it. I looked at the conservator sitting next to me and we both sort of said…what? Not everything in bookbinding is intuitive I guess.

Dominic Riley cleaning a spine

The afternoon session was led by Dominic Riley on Cloth Rebacking. Cloth rebacking is creating a new spine piece for a book using cloth (as the name implies). Dominic was a delightful speaker and in my case-the best was saved for last. Dominic is a bookbinder and film-maker who spent 10 years studying in San Francisco and then moved back to his native England. He has won several top prizes from the Guild of Bookworkers equivalent in the UK-the Designer Bookbinders. He taught a session on creating an invisible repair to a cloth binding which was practical and engaging to all present. He seemed to know everyone by their first name and carried on a light-hearted repartee as he worked.
He lifted the cloth and split the boards to attach color-matched cloth and end-sheets to create-as he described it, an invisible repair. We were also treated to film trailers of two films Dominic has made-one called “Seventy Years in Bookbinding:Portrait of Bernard Middleton” . This film may be on the Preservation “wish list” soon.

All in all, this gathering of the Guild was engaging and has made me want to get more involved in this organization. I was able to meet many nice folks in this gentile crowd who offered information, encouragement and opportunities for the future.


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