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The Inside Scoop: Working Across Campus

I’ve started a new schedule that includes working at least one day a week at the Smith Warehouse.  This beautiful building is where Duke Libraries Technical Services (except Conservation) and the Rubenstein Library Technical Services divisions are located. Working at Smith allows me to  answer questions and solve problems in between our bi-monthly scheduled visits to Rubenstein Technical Services.

It’s also nice to see people in person, and to be more present with this side of the library. Technical services can often feel overlooked because it is literally behind the scenes and in another building than the main library. But books wouldn’t get to the shelf without the hard working tech services staff!

What do you do over at Smith?

Today I got a note about pests in Rubenstein Technical Services. While there I looked at some collection materials that had complicated housing needs, downloaded environmental data, and sorted through some circulating materials that I sent back from Conservation. Of course no day as a middle manager is complete without at least one meeting so I attended that.

My work days at Smith allow me to focus on our documentation including updating our collections disaster plan, and writing new  workflow documentation for our environmental monitoring program. I am also a short walk from the Lilly Library and the Music Library. On Smith days I can walk over to collect environmental data, or consult with the librarians on East Campus if they have questions for Conservation.

But one of the best parts about working here is that I get a sneak peek at the materials headed to Conservation like this truck of music scores ready for pamphlet binding.

Music scores headed to Conservation for binding.

I also spied these three volumes of “Suave Mechanicals” ready for Conservation’s Official Reference collection in the lab. Our reference collection has grown over the years and has books on everything from coptic bindings to blueprints and electronic media.

Suave Mechanicals v. 4-6

Our very own Erin Hammeke has an essay in Suave Mechanicals v. 6. Erin, Chela Metzger from UCLA, and Alexander L. Ames from The Rosenbach, wrote an essay on the history of Anabaptist bookbindings titled “The Faith that Binds: Swiss Anabaptist Devotional Bookbindings in Early America.” I cannot wait to read this. The rest of volume 6 looks pretty darned good, too.

For more inside scoops on what happens at Smith Warehouse look no further than “Signal Boost,” the official blog of DUL Technical Services and Rubenstein Library’s blog “The Devil’s Tale.”

Taking a Break

Preservation Underground will be on hiatus until the new year. It is time to rest, recharge, and enjoy the season. We wish all of you a peaceful and healthy holiday, and a very happy new year. We will see you in 2021.

The beautiful view  from my cubicle at Smith Warehouse. I love these old tobacco buildings.

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