Equipment Day is our lab’s official birthday. While the conservation lab as we know it began in July 2002, our large equipment didn’t land on the loading dock until spring 2003. It was then that the lab felt “real.”
We’ve come a long way since 2002. We’ve expanded our staff, purchased additional large equipment, and even spent some time in the old nurses’ dormitory during renovation.
Happy Birthday Conservation! Today is our 10th Equipment Day, the day we celebrate the arrival from Germany of our large board shear and book presses. Conservation was consolidated into a unit in July 2002 as part of the Preservation Department. It took until April 2003 to get the large equipment here from Europe, in the mean time we did what we could with the equipment we had, including an old board shear that we found in a supply closet. Back then the lab was in two rooms with a public hallway going down the middle. Today we are in a beautiful lab space custom built for us during the last renovation phase.
When I started at Duke the lab had three technicians and myself. We now have 2.75FTE technicians and 3.25 FTE conservators, 0.5FTE students, and two volunteers. We’ve expanded our services from mostly general-collection conservation to a full suite of services for both general and special collections.
Since 2002 we have repaired over 66,000 books and manuscripts and created over 65,000 enclosures. I’m so very proud of the lab staff and how hard they work to keep our collections in good shape for our patrons. We of course have a lot of help from all over the library. Our colleagues are quick to send us anything in need of repair and we very much appreciate their help.
Looking back it is amazing where we have been and what we have accomplished. Looking forward I’m very excited about where we are going and can’t wait to share our story with you here on Preservation Underground. Happy birthday to us, and thank you all for reading.