Tag Archives: conservation statistics

FY2021: By The Numbers

It’s annual statistics time! As you can imagine Covid-19 influenced our stats for this year.  I don’t think any of us anticipated we would spend the first few months of the fiscal year working exclusively from home, and when we did return it was on a staggered schedule to avoid too many people in the lab at the same time.  That said, we did get a lot done. While treatment numbers are down as expected, we did get a lot of training, conference attendance, and administrative work done from home.

FY2021 Statistics

409 Book repairs
503 Pamphlet bindings
0 Treatments: Other (objects, textiles, etc.)
410  Flat Paper repairs
1,293 Protective enclosures
300  Disaster recovery
2 Exhibit mounts
48 Hours in support of Exhibits (meetings, treatment, installation, etc.)
443 Digital preparation repairs
23.25 Hours in support of Digital Projects (meetings, consultations, handling, etc.)

41 % of production was for Special Collections
59 % of production was for Circulating Collections

62.2% of work was Level 1 [less than 15 minutes to complete;  1813 items]
34.2% of work was Level 2 [15 minutes – 2 hours to complete;  998 items]
3.2% of work was Level 3 [2 – 5 hours to complete;  94 items]
0.3% of work was Level 4 [more than 5 hours; 10 items]

This is the first year that we added a Level 4 treatment (5+ hours). This differs from the old ARL/ALA Preservation Statistics where Level 3 (3+ hours) was the longest hourly bucket you could put treatments into. We felt this didn’t give us enough of an idea of how very lengthy treatments fit in to our overall output.

Creating custom enclosures has always been a large percentage of our yearly output. This year the total percentage of work that were enclosures was 44%, very close to the historical percent average. With the Lilly Renovation Project ramping up again, we expect to see larger numbers in this category for the next couple of years.

Other Things We Did Last Year

FY 2018 By The Numbers

It’s that time of year again when we report our annual statistics to our administration. We thought we would share these with you, too.

1,093 Book Repairs (down 38% from last year)
1,066 Pamphlets (down 38%)
1,392 Flat Paper (down 87%)
5,975 Protective Enclosures (down 15%)
66 Disaster recovery
8 Exhibit mounts (down 64%)
746 hours of time in support of exhibits (includes meetings, treatment, installation, etc.) (up 452%)
1,002 items repaired for digital projects (down 90%)

38% of total work was for Special Collections
62% of total work was for Circulating Collections

74% of work was Level 1 [less than 15 minutes to complete]
23% of work was Level 2 [15 minutes – 2 hours to complete]
3% of work was Level 3 [more than 2 hours to complete]

Looking at the three year trend you can see the impact of two things. First, we had a steep decline in paper repairs because last fiscal year we were working on a mass digitization preparation project (dark red line). Those numbers skewed our stats for FY2017. In February, Tedd Anderson resigned as our conservation technician, and Mary Yordy reduced her hours. You can see their impact on the stats. Tedd did the majority of custom enclosures (green line) for Rubenstein Library. And both Tedd and Mary repair general collections materials (light red line). We  had a huge exhibit project this fiscal year that included a lot of complicated and time consuming repairs. You see a marked decrease in the percentage overall of items repaired for Rubenstein Library, but there was a marked increase in length of time we spent on those repairs. So the percentage is down, but the number of Level 3 repairs are up.

Not Everything Is A Statistic

We hope you enjoy looking back at the year that was FY2018 as much as we did. We can’t wait to see what FY2019 brings.

FY 2017 By The Numbers

It’s the end of the fiscal year and time to write reports. We had a very productive year. The only metric we track that didn’t increase this year was mold removal. It’s difficult to be sad about that.

FY2017 Statistics

1,625 book repairs (up 90% due to a very large acquisition project)
1,735 pamphlets bound (up 40%)
11,007 flat paper repairs (up 390% due to a very large digitization project)
7,018 protective enclosures (up 23%)
1,333 disaster recovery (down 56%)
22 exhibit mounts created (up 47%)
135 hours of time in support of exhibits (includes meetings, treatment, installation, etc.)
339.25 hours in support of digital projects (includes meetings, treatment, evaluation, etc.)

66% of total work was for Special Collections
34% of total work was for Circulating Collections

82% of work was Level 1 [less than 15 minutes to complete]*
17% of  work was Level 2 [15 minutes – 2 hours to complete]
1% of  work was Level 3 [more than 2 hours to complete]

Looking at a graph of the past few years of production you can see the impact that digital projects have had on our work (mostly working on archival collections, aka “flat paper repairs”). This trend is likely to continue.

FY cumulative totals*This number is skewed from past years due some very large projects that needed a lot of minor repairs.

Not Everything Is A Statistic
  • We gave tours to 121 people last year.
  • We created a new Sewn-Board Workflow for fine-press bindings in our circulating collections.
  • We had a wonderful pre-program volunteer who worked with us for almost a year to learn more about library conservation and treatment.
  • We worked with library colleagues to set up the new multi-spectral imaging equipment; and worked with campus resources to CT-scan some objects in the History of Medicine Collection.
  • We hosted a “preservation of digitally printed materials” workshop taught by Daniel Burge, Senior Research Scientist at IPI.
  • We helped to research and procure two new freezers for disaster recovery.
  • Occasionally we stopped to do some fun activities and learn new things.

FY 2014 By The Numbers

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.

1091 Project: Conservation By The Numbers

1091 graphicThis month on the 1091 Project we are talking statistics. We collect conservation statistics based on the ARL Preservation Statistics.* These are divided into three levels: Level 1 conservation projects take less than 15 minutes to complete; Level 2 projects take 15 minutes to 2 hours; and Level 3 projects take more than 2 hours to finish.

*ARL Preservation Statistics are no longer collected, but there is a new effort to revise and collect preservation statistics through ALA-PARS. This new system may change what kind of data we collect in the future.

Fiscal Year 2012-2013 Statistics

Last year 20,547 library items came through Conservation. The numbers break down in this way:

2,010 books repaired
2,186 pamphlets bound
638 flat paper repairs
13,383 protective enclosures (includes 2,971 CoLibri book jackets)
2,287 items recovered from mold/water
114 exhibit mounts (70 hours of installation support)

61% of the work came from special collections
39% of the work came from the circulating collections

51.9% were Level 1 projects
48% were Level 2 projects
A small number were Level 3 projects

Total production was about the same as last year, but we did additional work for the renovation project that is not reflected in the above numbers.

Renovation Statistics

Regular readers know we did a lot of work last year to help move our special collections to swing space in preparation for the renovation of the 1928 stacks where the Rubenstein Library is located. Most of this work centered around making enclosures for fragile materials.


64% of the enclosures were envelopes, 10% were four-flap boxes, and the remaining were a variety of enclosures with some mold removal thrown in for good measure.

We also provided training for Rubenstein Library staff and students who did a lot of enveloping; we conducted several collection condition surveys to determine enclosure needs and estimate supply budgets; we hired and trained several conservation student assistants to help make enclosures and envelope fragile materials; and we helped with the security shifts during the actual move of the collections.

Recognizing Trends

The most interesting thing to me about collecting statistics is tracking trends over time. You can easily see how big projects, changes in staffing and shifting priorities can effect your department.


I use these statistics to plan short and long term goals, develop new initiatives, and to make sure we have the right staff and skill sets to meet changing demands.

Let’s see what data Parks Library Preservation collects and how they use their data to inform departmental priorities.