Friday, January 2, 2009

From the Preservation Lab

December was a busy month in the Preservation Lab, though the near radio-silence from me on the blog would indicate otherwise. In November I began gathering information and structuring my plan for conducting a preservation survey of the State Library's storage spaces and collections. As I've mentioned previously, this project is conducted in conjunction with the Preservation Management Institute at Rutgers University.

Once I had my plan of action, December was spent in the stacks: measuring temperature, relative humidity and light levels; assessing air flow, fire suppression systems and potential water threats; counting microfilm reels, video tapes and audio tapes; and surveying the condition of glass plate negatives, oversize framed objects, rare materials and miscellaneous objects in our vault (commemorative plates, doorknobs, building keys, medals, etc.). It was a great opportunity to look at our collections on the item-level, as well as at the collection level. And honestly, some of the things we have are just plain cool - such as two phonodiscs (33 1/3 rpm) titled "John F. Kennedy : a self-portrait ; the gallant warrior of the thousand days" - so it was fun for me to have a chance to spend a few minutes examining them.

Now that I have surveyed the storage spaces and collections I am left with a stack of notes about two inches thick. January will be spent synthesizing these notes into a document that describes preservation at the library in great detail and provides recommendations for areas of growth in regards to preservation. I am eager to complete this document as it will provide a sound basis upon which the preservation program at the library can move forward and perhaps even highlight some potential grant writing opportunities.

- Lacy Crews, Preservation Librarian