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Subject: Visiting Princeton during ALA midwinter meeting

Visiting Princeton during ALA midwinter meeting

From: Robert J. Milevski <milevski>
Date: Thursday, February 9, 1995
I thought that folks who saw my invitation last November to tour the
Preservation Office of the Princeton University Libraries prior to ALA
midwinter in Philadelphia might be interested in the outcome of our
nonrefundable offer.

A total of 20 folk attended the tour, although more than that registered
and subsequently dropped out for various reasons.  The crowd was a mix
of preservation administrators, special collections librarians,
librarians with interest in or responsibility for preservation at their
institutions, and library school students, especially a contingent from
UTexas's PA program.  It is interesting to note that only 8 folk took
the bus we chartered while the remainder drove to Princeton on their
own.  Thank you all for attending.  The weather was really quite
pleasant--no snow on the ground and no bitter cold--considering what
things were like at that time last year, and what could have happened
had this year's major regional snowstorm arrived two nights earlier.

We spent two hours in the morning touring the Preservation Office,
discussing the finer and coarser aspects of our systemwide but
de-centralized preservation program.  This portion of the tour included
show and tell presentations by Mick LeTourneaux, assistant general
collections conservator, Ted Stanley, special collections paper
conservator, and Joan Irving, paper conservation intern from the
Winterthur program.

Afterwards we went for a leisurely buffet lunch at the University's
faculty club.  This included the staff of the Preservation Office.

Following lunch folks were free to pursue their own devices.  Steve
Ferguson, Assistant University Librarian for Rare Books and Special
Collections, conducted a tour of his department as well as a walking
tour of main library, including our latest addition.  A number of folk
returned to the Preservation Office and discussed shop.  Others just
moseyed around the campus or the Princeton business district or simply
headed out.  By 5 o'clock in the afternoon the bus subgroup was on its
way back to Philadelphia.

I was delighted to be able to host the tour.  The University Library
Director, Donald Koepp, fully approved it, for which I thank him. And
the Preservation Office budget has sufficient flexibility to underwrite
the cost such an event, including lunch.

Editorial:  I make it a point to visit preservation departments and
conservation labs while attending conferences, workshops, and seminars
around the country.  This is the only time I have to visit colleagues on
their home turf and to see the milieu within which their programs
operate, especially if their institutions are off the beaten path, such
as is Princeton University.  (This assumes that they welcome drop-ins on
such occasions.)  I wish more of my colleagues would do same, both
visiting local programs or hosting tours of their own.  There is always
much to be learned by being inquisitive and comparing notes.

We have two perfect opportunities for touring coming up in the near
future.  The 1995 ALA annual summer conference is being held in Chicago
which has a host of preservation programs (eg Northwestern University,
Newberry Library, U Chicago), conservation labs (eg Graphic Conservation
Co, Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago Historical Society), and book arts
programs (eg Columbia College).  Why can't PARS members from the area
organize something the day before or the day following their meetings?

The annual meeting of AIC is being held in St. Paul.  The museum tour
info provided by the local arrangements committee in the meeting
brochure does not mention whether the conservation labs in these
institutions will be visited during the tour.  Also, this tour is museum
oriented.  What about books, archives, libraries, etc?  The Twin City
area has U Minnesota library, Minnesota Historical Society,
Campbell-Logan Bindery, Minnesota Center for the Book Arts, Minneapolis
Public Library (yes, they do have a bindery and book repair lab), etc.
Why is there no tour of these facilities?  And why did the museum tour
have to be at night?  (I know this is nitpicking, but shouldn't folk be
able to decide for themselves whether they want to go on a tour during
the daytime or to attend meetings being presented during the same time
slot?)  Frankly, I don't see why the AIC admin doesn't coordinate more
tours of nearby programs, the registration cost of the annual meeting is
so g-d'd expensive and we should get more opportunity and quality for
our money.

When AIC was in Buffalo there was a tour of the art conservation program
at Buffalo State College (although I am not sure AIC was directly
involved in the organization of this) but none of the well-regarded
preservation program at SUNY-Buffalo library.  (I do not recall what
other tours of local facilities may have taken place.)  While in
Nashville, it is/was my impression (probably incorrect) that the Country
Music Foundation (or is it the Country Music Hall of Fame?) has a lab
for preserving the old sound recordings in their collections.  A tour of
these facilities and the work that they do would have been very
interesting.  Nashville is also the headquarters of the American
Association of State and Local History which has produced preservation
and conservation literature for their members.  A tie in with this
organization would also have been interesting.

There are lost opportunities whenever we travel to meetings, despite the
fact that most of the time is taken up with meetings or socializing.
(There were two tours of the Conservation Center for Art and Historic
Artifacts during ALA in Philadelphia.  I thank the tour organizers for
their forethought.  I hope their efforts were rewarded.)  Of course,
taking the time out for tours takes up time and money, sometimes staying
in town an extra day.  Don't choose to ignore opportunity too often.
You may never (want to) come this way again.

Of course, my complaint above is based on my personal interests in the
field, which certainly may be viewed with amusement, skepticism or
outrage by some of you.  That doesn't matter.  What matters is
professional growth and development in the field--information is
power--and touring local programs is one avenue for such activity.

End editorial:  I plan on offering a repeat tour of our facilities again
in 1996 during the ALA annual conference in New York City.  I will plan
it slightly differently so that more of you may attend the conference
without having to come into town for our tour more than one day/night
earlier than you would have normally.

                                  ***
                  Conservation DistList Instance 8:63
                 Distributed: Sunday, February 12, 1995
                        Message Id: cdl-8-63-020
                                  ***
Received on Thursday, 9 February, 1995

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