I pursued this independent study to learn more about the topic of collections care and to explore issues I observed during my practicum at J. Michael Goodson Law Library. For that reason, I considered several projects that would benefit Goodson. After discussing the usefulness of the proposed projects with my practicum advisor, I settled on evaluating one of the library’s special collections and making recommendations for preventative treatments.
The Christie Collection in Jurisprudence, with approximately 2,500 monographs on jurisprudence and legal philosophy, is a named collection established in 1973 in honor of George C. Christie, James B. Duke Professor Emeritus of Law. The collection is currently located on the library’s fourth floor, but there are plans to move it to a more prominent location on the first floor. Due to the intrinsic value of the Christie Collection, and in consideration of the relocation plans, I believe the library staff should take steps to mitigate the deterioration of current collection materials.
I evaluated the monographs for the primary agents of deterioration—dust, light, and mold—as well as damage unique to books. Thirteen items required immediate conservation, so I wrote a memorandum detailing the damage and recommended treatment.
Completing the project was a rewarding way to explore what I learned this semester in a professional environment, and I hope the results will benefit the library.Christie-Collection-Recommendation-Memo
I’m confident I will add more resources to this blog as I continue to explore the topic, particularly in the areas below.
When I began this semester, I did not appreciate the value of written collection policies and their role in ongoing collections care. But without a collections policy, it is difficult for staff to prioritize preservation activities. From studying the sample policies I found online, I believe the following are characteristics of a good collection policy:
- defines the scope of the current collection and identifies areas for the development of future collections
- details the process of acquiring and integrating materials into an existing collection
- establishes the characteristics of a preservation program
- should be based on the library’s and university’s mission statement
There are unique processes and practices for handling, managing, and storing every resource type, so it is important to be aware of as many methods as possible. In addition to the collection maintenance techniques I explored during this semester, I want to learn more about the following activities:
- stacks cleaning projects, like the one developed at the University of Washington
- digital collections management activities
- disaster planning
- the role of fine assessment in collections care
Even though the semester is concluding, my education in this area of collection management is just beginning. I remain excited to continue learning about collections care, and I look forward to career opportunities that will permit me to explore this area professionally.