Tracking repair papers that we have ordered.

Tracking repair papers that we have ordered.

Erin came up with a great idea to track the repair papers that we order. Each time we order a new paper she snips a small sample piece and attaches it to this grid that she created. There is room in the description area to list the vendor, the item number from their catalog, the price and when and how much we ordered it.

This has helped a great deal especially in re-ordering paper that we may not order on a regular basis. It’s also fun to see these all together to get an idea of the color ranges and weights of the repair tissues we have. It provides more information than a spreadsheet alone could provide. It’s a good thing!



It’s annual report writing time! Since we shared our stats in the past years, I thought we would write again this year as well. I love statistics, probably a little too much.

A year in a tweet.

A year in a tweet.

Due to the renovation and the resultant problems, our productivity is slightly down because we had to close the lab for a month due to the Great Flood of 2013. We had a couple smaller leaks due to the fact we have had no roof on the building next to us, and we have lost two of our rooms. Ahhhh, renovation. All things considered, I think have done remarkably well in keeping up our productivity.

Fiscal Year 2013-2014 Statistics

Last year 17,134 library items came through Conservation. The numbers break down in this way:

1,126 books repaired
2,873 pamphlets bound
533 flat paper repairs
4,755 protective enclosures*
7,817 items recovered from mold/water
86 exhibit mounts (356 hours of exhibit support)

65% of the work came from special collections
35% of the work came from the circulating collections

28% of our total output was creating custom enclosures
46% of our total output was removing mold from manuscripts

68% of non-enclosure work was Level 1 projects [less than 15 minutes]
20% of non-enclosure work was Level 2 projects [15 minutes to 2 hours]
4%  of non-enclosure work was Level 3 projects [over 2 hours]

*CoLibri has declined significantly now that new publisher’s bindings with book jackets come shelf ready with a protective cover.

Of course, not everything we do necessarily results in a tic mark on a stat sheet. We revamped our student job duties to free up more time for our technicians. We added a “Boxing Day” a week to Tedd’s duties to keep up with all the boxing requests from Rubenstein Library. We did a lot of giving back to the conservation community by presenting at AIC, ALA and the Triangle Research Libraries consortium, and three of us developed new workshops. Two were presented for the North Carolina Preservation Consortium, and one for Paper & Book Intensive. We’d love to see other labs tweet out or share their stats.

As you know, we like to stop our production work every now and then to learn something new. In June we sent representatives to both the American Institution for Conservation and the Canadian Association for Conservation annual meetings.

This was the first year we sent someone to the CAC conference. Grace attended and brought back information including an interesting use of  magnets to hang a traveling exhibit of vary large artwork. What she liked most about the CAC conference is that the specialties do not break up into separate sessions like we do at AIC.

Erin shows us Bill Minter's tip on using a screen to tear Japanese tissue.

Erin shows us Bill Minter’s tip on using a screen to dry tear Japanese tissue to use for repairs.

Erin and I discussed the sessions we attended at AIC including the Book and Paper Group Tips Session (always a favorite). Erin had the great idea to have an “Experiment Day” to try some of these tips. She worked with Rachel to get supplies and organize a few of the tips that seemed most useful. Rachel demonstrated a hinging technique she uses that is similar to the one Terry Marsh offered (read by Anisha Gupta) at the tips session. Erin then demonstrated other tips including a dry tear technique presented by Bill Minter, and a technique for relaxing lined artwork presented by Betsy Palmer Eldridge. It was a fun way to bring back information from a conference and experiment a little to see if we can integrate some of these techniques into our workflows.

Rachel demonstrates a hinging technique used for float mats.

Rachel demonstrates a hinging technique used for float mats.


1091 graphicKevin Driedger, author of Library Preservation 2, had a brilliant idea to ask institutions with preservation and conservation responsibilities to post at least one picture a day this week on the theme, “This is what preservation looks like.” Everyone tagged their posts with #5DaysOfPreservation. Search the hashtag on Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and you will see hundreds of images from across the country. He’s also collected the entries on a Tumbler.

For our contributions we divided the post responsibilities between Conservation, Preservation and the Digital Production Center. On Monday, we visited Conservation as they made custom enclosures for some very old pin cushions.

On Tuesday we visited Winston Atkins, Preservation Officer, as he was working on reconciling the just-ended fiscal year budget. As he reminded us, “What we do is administration, after all.” That is one of the hidden secrets of library preservation, we do a lot of paperwork, research, writing, program administration and attend a lot of meetings to gather information to help form our vision for the preservation program’s future.

On Wednesday, we went over to the Digital Production Center to see Zeke digitizing the Duke Chronicle, our campus student newspaper. This digital collection has proved to be one of our most successful projects, and more issues will be available soon.

Thursday we were back in the conservation lab with our student, Wolfgang, who was putting CoLibri (TM) covers on books from our New & Noteworthy collection. These covers protect the publisher’s dust jacket, are non-adhesive and take just a couple minutes to complete.

On Thursday we got two more posts from the Digital Production Center. Mike was working on preparing digital files for transfer into the Duke Digital Repository.

And Alex was working on reformatting videotape to preservation standards.

Friday was a flurry of activity. We found Beth and Rachel changing out the board shear blades in the conservation lab.

And finally we visit the not-so-attractive but vitally necessary job of insect monitoring.

Overall I think Kevin’s idea was a huge hit, and we should all do this again. So often preservation and conservation are hidden in basements or offsite, and I sometimes thing that even our own colleague may not know what we do every day. #5DaysOfPreservation demonstrates the wide variety of services we provide for our institutions and how we contribute to the accessibility of our collections. Let’s go see what Parks Library Preservation’s contributions were this week. What did you do post? Put your links in the comments.


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