In 2010, the American Library Association (ALA) created Preservation Week to bring attention to the millions of items in collecting institutions that require care. Sponsored by the ALA’s Association of Library Collections and Services and partner organizations, it was designed to inspire the preservation of personal, family, and community collections of all kinds, as well as library, museum, and archive collections. The goal is also to raise awareness of the role libraries and other cultural institutions can play in providing ongoing preservation information.
What will you do to celebrate Preservation Week? Here are a few ideas.
1. Write a disaster plan for your institution, if it doesn’t have one already. If it doesn’t, you are not alone. According to a 2004 study, 78% of public libraries and 73% of academic libraries do not have an emergency plan or staff to carry it out. (Read more about it here.)
Get ahead of the game—here are some places to start:
- NEDCC (The Northeast Document Conservation Center) provides a free, on-line template for writing comprehensive disaster plans.
- CCAHA (The Conservation Center for Art & Historic Artifacts) conducts workshops and seminars on disaster planning.
- The Library of Congress also offers good information on emergency preparedness, response, and recovery.
2. Learn more about caring for your private collection materials.
- The Library of Congress provides information on preserving family treasures.
- NEDCC is also a great resource for information.
- Or check out The National Archives.
3. Make sure your collection materials are correctly housed.
- There are several posts about creating enclosures in our blog that you can peruse:
o Creating a box for a facsimile of George Washington’s lower denture.
o On re-housing our diploma collection.
o And be sure to check out our Item of the Month blog for May 2014, which features an introduction to enclosure basics.
- A variety of custom enclosures are available from the following vendors:
o Archival Products (of particular note is the Academy folder, named after the New York Academy of Medicine)
4. Find a conservator. Of course, we don’t recommend undertaking conservation treatments unless you are a trained conservator. AIC (The American Institute for Conservation for Historic and Artistic Works) provides a searchable listing of conservation professionals working in specialties ranging from books and paper to objects and textiles. You can search by specialty or by zip code.
5. Attend a Preservation Week event. Click here for an event map and list of speakers.
Preservation week happens only once a year, but collections need constant care. We hope the above can help you get started, or serve as a reminder of the importance of preservation.