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Subject: Trend toward closing university library conservation labs

Trend toward closing university library conservation labs

From: Shannon Zachary <szachary<-at->
Date: Monday, July 23, 2012
Maureen K. Sharp <msharp [at] purdue__edu> writes

>I have been told my supervisor that there may be a trend starting
>toward closing university library conservation labs as the materials
>requiring physical treatment dwindle in the age of e-books, digital
>preservation, etc. ...

There have been a variety of factors with an impact on conservation
in university libraries in recent years: the economic recession,
changes in services across the library because of new (digital)
publishing patterns and new research/teaching methodologies as well
as the push to digitization--an operation that is often also located
in a university library preservation department and so in direct
competition for staff and space. All of these may have slowed the
growth of conservation programs in recent years, but I am observing
a counter trend as well at our own library. Increased emphasis on
primary research using special collections, demand for digitization
of rare materials, and an expanding exhibit program are all pushing
an increased demand for conservation services. Our conservation
program is growing. Our book repair operation for general
circulating collections did cut back slightly in favor of vending
more services out to the library binder. With the sharp reduction in
serials binding (because of online delivery of journals), library
binders have been expanding the services they offer.

Shannon Zachary
Head, Dept. of Preservation and Conservation
University of Michigan Library


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Received on Monday, 23 July, 2012

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