There is a wealth of information on the care, or preservation, of academic library collections; however, most of that information does not include the preservation of circulating collections beyond the initial activities of making a resource shelf-ready. Great care is taken to process a new resource before it is added to the collection:
- inspecting for mold or pests that may have been introduced during shipment
- binding or adding a mylar jacket and spine label if not already present from publisher
- creating a record in the library catalog
But once the resource is shelved, typically there are no established preservation policies or activities are in place to ensure its continued care beyond the act of reshelving it.
My first goal in creating this digital portfolio is to gather information from other academic libraries or cultural institutions where policies and activities for active collections are in place and then develop a preservation framework for items commonly found in academic libraries. Once I have developed the framework, I’ll apply the information to a special project that will allow me to practice what I’ve learned over the course of the semester.
Relevant Readings on Collections Care
I found a handful of blogs, sites, videos, and webinars that helped form my understanding of the issues and approaches in academic collections care. I’m now trying to expand this list to include peer-reviewed sources. The introductory list of readings can be found on The Basics page.
I did not appreciate the importance that policies play in preservation activities at academic libraries until I began this independent study. The Policies page highlights policy areas that I am researching currently, along with an environmental control policy and decision memo I drafted.
Topical Information for my Project
Why do resources decay or become damaged? What are the major threats to a circulating collection? Before I can complete a hands-on project, I need to understand what I’m trying to prevent. I cover the causes of change, loss, or damage to a library collection on Agents of Deterioration. I will add images of these threats if I encounter them during this study.
Agents of Deterioration
Basic Preservation Techniques and Activities
Since the most common resource format at an academic library is a monograph, I detail how to safely handle them on the Book Care and Storage Basics page.
- I want to draft more sample policies. Working on the environmental policy draft taught me more than I anticipated, so I want to continue.
- I want to learn about the storage and handling of film and photographs.
- I’ll meet with a local academic collections manager to share my policy draft, and learn what they consider the greatest threats to the library collection, and possibly the reservation resources provided by their university.