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Working From Home Options for Conservation Labs

As the Covid-19 virus spreads, we have started planning for work that Conservation staff can do at home should we be told to stay off campus. As of this publication we have not been asked to stay home but preservation professionals prepare for the worst and hope for the best. This has been a thought provoking exercise and everyone has contributed to our brainstorming.

We wanted to share what we have drafted to date in case any other labs are in a similar situation. These discussions are also happening on the AIC Community discussion boards and on social media. If you have other ideas, please share in the comments. A big thank you to Kristen St.John at Stanford for the original idea and letting us run with it.

Professional Development

AIC Connecting to Collections webinars (free)

AIC Collections Care self-study options (from free to $89)

AIC self-study courses for Heritage Responders (free)

LinkdIn Learning (aka Lynda) (many academic libraries have free access)

ALCTS YouTube channel (free)

Rare Book School YouTube channel (free)

NEDCC Preservation 101 online self-study (free)

NEDCC Preservation Leaflets (free)

NASIG Youtube Channel (free)

Diversity and Equity in Conservation

AIC/FAIC Youtube Channel (a lot of C2C videos, plus more) (free)

UCLA History of the Book website (free)

Preservation of Plastic Artifacts conference

Syracuse Brodsky Series lectures (PDF transcripts are here) (free)

Documentary Heritage and Preservation Services Youtube page (free)

Image Permanence Institute webinars (free)

CCAHA webinars (free)

Guild of Book Workers Standards Seminars (free for one month!)

Departmental service

Market/vendor research

Technical research

Review/update documentation

Review/update shared workflows (collaborate with other units)

Draft blog posts

Clean out/organize your email and shared drive files

Create futons

Update your contact info in the disaster plan

Cross training with other departments

Professional service

Prepare presentations or work on research papers/posters

Book and Paper Group wiki contributions (Wiki main page)

Add entries of storage solutions to Stash-C

Contribute to Linked Data projects

Host a virtual “unconference” for a focused but informal online discussion on a certain topic. See “How To Run A Free Online Academic Conference: A Workbook (version 0.1)” [credit Sarah Reidell, Penn Libraries]  This could include a department wide virtual meeting to discuss a reading, video, etc.

Skills/Individual Development

Write end of year performance evaluations (it’s that time of year afterall)

Create a book model that you haven’t learned before, or explore sewing structures you haven’t learned before, etc.

Apply for AIC professional membership (Fellow)

Learn to Wash Your Hands

WHO hand washing guide
World Health Organization


Johns Hopkins video based on WHO recommendations:


Create your own Handwashing Meme.

baby shark washing hands poster
Wash your hands, doo doo do do to do


Did you know singing the refrain from the School House Rock Constitution Preamble episode takes just over 20 seconds (the recommended length of time to wash your hands with soap and water).

And the Preamble goes like this:

We the people,
In order to form a more perfect union,
Establish justice, insure domestic tranquility,
Provide for the common defense,
Promote the general welfare and
Secure the blessings of liberty
To ourselves and our posterity
Do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.

For the United States of America…

21 thoughts on “Working From Home Options for Conservation Labs”

  1. One more suggestion – if your university is a member of the National Center for Faculty Development and Diversity, they have a great series of webinars focused on working and thriving in an academic environment. At my university all staff, faculty, and grad students can access NCFDD content by setting up a login on the site, using their university email address. In addition to their “core curriculum” they have a ton of guest webinars saved under their resources tab.

  2. CAMEO wiki and SPNHC wikis also. It may take moderators time to verify new accounts.

  3. The preamble suggestion for handwashing is perfect for me! We had to memorize the song in 7th grade 🙂

  4. Another idea is to contribute to a project on Zooniverse. There are a lot of transcription projects that would be relevant to libraries on the list. I love transcribing ships logs, maybe I’ll find one of those projects. Thanks to Melissa Tedone at University of Delaware for the tip.

  5. Hi! I work with Sustainability in Conservation and we would like to play our part in providing useful information to our members, the majority of whom are conservators – would it be okay if we linked this on our social media and newsletter? Full credit will be given to the author of course and we would tag/mention any institutional/personal account that you’d like!

    1. Hi Justina, you are welcome to link this. Duke Libraries blogs’ are under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 license so you can share and adapt as long as you attribute the page, and it is for non-commercial use.

  6. Thank you colleagues from over the water! Great suggestions, we’ll try to contribute from the UK as well…it’s so important to connect and this situation at least gives us time to do that

    1. Thank YOU for reading. We would love to hear ideas from people not based in the U.S. I’m sure there are resources you use all the time that would be new to us.

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