The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 1a
Feb 1984


News

The Australian Scene

Murray Millar, conservator at the Australian Archives in Kingston and officer of the Craft Bookbinders' Guild, Inc. (P0 Box 322, Kingston, A.C.T. 2604, Australia) wrote in December,

"Craft Bookbinders' Guilds are firmly established in Brisbane (Queensland), Sydney (Glebe, New South Wales), Melbourne (Victoria) end in Canberra (Australian Capital Territory). All produce their own bulletin/newsletters on a regular basis. The Canberra Group, to which I belong, is the smallest in terms of membership; however, we are currently planning an 'Inaugural Conference of Craft Bookbinders' to be held in Canberra November/December 1984. This will be the first such gathering held in Australia and we are already encouraged by the response. There is also a possibility of a travelling exhibition made up from works of British, European bookbinders, visiting Australia during 1984. This will be under the administrative control of Crafts

Second ALA/LC Educational meeting Set for April

Last year the ALA's Resources and Technical Services Division worked with the Library of Congress to put on a abort seminar in library preservation aimed at top management in libraries. This year they are inviting middle management, and next year it will be the bench conservators and repairers.

This year the seminar is called "Library Preservation: Implementing Programs," and it will be held April 13-14 in St. Louis, Missouri. In the morning there will be talks on administrative models for preservation in three types of collections, and the afternoon will have four periods of concurrent sessions. More concurrent sessions are scheduled for the morning of the second day. Speakers include Don Etherington, Sally Buchanan, Carolyn Clark Morrow, Gay Walker, William Chickening, Merrily Smith, Jan Merrill-Oldham, and Margaret Byrnes. Registration fees are $185-$215 depending on RTSD and ALA membership. Write to Library Preservation Program, ALA/RTSD, 50 East Huron St., Chicago, IL 60611.

Other News From PLMS

Besides developments reported elsewhere in this issue, several other bits of news were brought out at the January meeting of the ALA Preservation of Library Materials Section.

The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) has a Section on Conservation, which has been busy lately revising its "Principles for the Conservation and Restoration of Collections in Libraries," a 12-page typed document, and is seeking informed input from American library organizations. Revisions will be considered at the next meeting in August in Nairobi, or at the next committee meeting for which travel costs are low enough to permit a quorum to attend.

(Editorial comment: It is hard to draw up any complete set of guidelines or standards for book or paper conservation, because they have to be specific enough to guide practice, without hindering the exercise of professional judgement. The British Standards Institute's 1973 "Recommendations for Repair and Allied Processes for the Conservation of Documents" is an example of an unsuccessful attempt to resolve this dilemma. A more successful, but less ambitious, guide is Baynes-Cope and Collings's "Some Specifications for Materials and Techniques used in the Conservation of Archives," J. Soc. Arch. 6(6): 384-386, Oct. 1980. The IFLA's set of principles, despite its European bias toward restoration and a certain chemical naivete, has the potential to do a lot of good, but it needs a lot of work. It is the most recent high-level attempt to formulate principles of conservation for library material, as opposed to museum objects, or buildings and monuments.)

Don Etherington brought out his sample of ex-brittle paper at one of the meetings to show how being encapsulated and used as an example, for years, of how much crumpling encapsulated paper can take, strengthened the paper and made it flexible. "It's turned it into leather," he said. Nobody knew what to make of it. If we knew what had happened inside the paper over those years when it was repeatedly crumpled, we would know something new about paper, and it might even be useful to preservation.

Three collection surveys were discussed. Gay Walker said that the report of the Yale survey would be sent to College and Research Libraries for publication. Robert DeCandido reported on the New York Public Library's survey of local history and genealogy books, which was patterned on the Yale survey and even consulted the same statistician. The most interesting finding was that the paper in the 947 books in the sample was either very good or very brittle; only 5% took between 4 and 15 double folds'. This seems to indicate that deterioration is very rapid. The figures of the NYPL and the Yale survey agree remarkably closely on the percent brittle (43% vs. 50%) and percent below pH 5.4 (86% vs. 84%). The Library of Congress is about to survey its own collections.

Rare Book School 1984

Columbia University's Rare Book School, part of the School of Library Service, will be considerably expanded for its second season, July 9 to August 17. From two to four courses will be held each week for the six-week session, making 24 courses in all. Some are held only in the mornings or afternoons, but most of them are all day. Some of the more interesting courses for binders and conservators are:

Medieval Bookbinding Structures, taught by Christopher Clarkson. $250. Mornings, 23-27 July

The Study of American Bookbindings, 1660-1830, taught by Willman Spawn. $250. Mornings, 16-20 July

Theory & Practice of Conservation Bookbinding, taught by Gary Frost. $250. Afternoons, 23-27 July

Microcomputers for Rare Book Libraries, taught by John Bidwell. $350. All day, 6-10 August; repeated 13-17 August

Other courses will be given by Paul Needham, Nicolas Barker, Terry Belanger, Sue Allen, Michael Winship, G. Thomas Tanselle, Daniel Traister, Robert Nikirk and others. For information and an application form, write to Rare Book School, School of Library Service, Columbia University, New York, BY 10027 (212/280-2292).

SAA Conference to Feature Conservation

The Society of American Archivists' annual meeting in Washington, DC, August 30 to September 3, will have about six sessions of interest to conservators, according to a preliminary report: Fumigation, with papers on gamma radiation, freezing end ethylene oxide; Display, including the preservation aspects; Moving; Architectural Considerations; Photographic Reproduction, including photocopying; and State of the Art, including recent research in conservation. There will also be a paper on occupational hazards, perhaps in a session not listed. For information write the SAA (address in list sent to all subscribers with the index).

Provisional List of Speakers for IIC Program Released

There will be about 40 speakers at the meeting of the International Institute for Conservation in Paris, September 2-8. Most of the papers will be in English and 1/4 will be given by Americans, including Norbert Baer and Cathleen Baker.

The theme of the conference is "Adhesives and Consolidants." Some of the topics to be covered are: strength testing, graft co-polymerization for paper, CCI's adhesive testing program, conservation of leather bookbindings (Betty flames), photoactive materials (lanolin and titanium dioxide), Hyogu-shi's vegetable adhesive, Japanese wheat starch adhesives (Paul Wills) and consolidation of decaying leather. Among the 10 "five-minute" contributions tentatively scheduled is one by Scott Haskins on testing silicone adhesive films. There will also be poster sessions, tours, visits and receptions.

IPC Seminar on Management for Paper Conservators

The Institute of Paper Conservation is organizing an all-day meeting in London at the Geological Society, on the setting up and running of paper conservation workshops. Entitled "Paper Conservators and Their Workshops," it will take place on Friday June 22, 1984.

The meeting is primarily intended for practicing paper and book conservators--in both private and public employment--and students currently taking courses in these subjects. However, the topics covered during the day may well be relevant to conservators from other disciplines, to archivists, librarians, administrators and persons responsible for purchasing conservation skills.

Conservators of archives, books and works of art on paper will present case histories illustrating the design of their workshops, their finance and their administration. Specialist business information will be supplied by a financial consultant. The provisional program includes the following topics: cost of a new conservation facility and its physical organization; running and maintaining an existing facility; estimating and accounting for the small business; income tax and value added tax; insurance; sources of advice and information; planning your working week; keeping records; professional practice; workshop security; and purchasing conservation materials. The meeting will also provide the opportunity for discussion.

Bound conference motes containing abstracts of the presentations and important sources of information will be provided for all delegates.

The registration fee for this meeting will be approximately £25.00, less for IPC members. For information and application forms, contact Alan Howell, IPC Workshops Meeting Organiser, The Geological Society of London, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London WlV 0JU (tel. 01 734 2356).

Archives & Library Cooperate to Train Administrators

During 1984 the New York State Archives and the New York State Library will sponsor four conservation administration training workshops in Albany. The workshops will be aimed at administrators, managers, and planners from libraries, archives and other historical records programs.

The workshops are part of a larger project which will gather information on conservation programs in New York and conclude with a report of findings and recommendations for future action to meet statewide preservation needs. The project is partly funded by a $52,140 grant from NEH, and is codirected by Larry Hackman, state archivist, and Peter Paulson, state librarian. There is also an advisory council made up of representatives of 12 research institutions; it includes Paul Banks, Robert Schnare and Richard Strassberg.

Instead of traditional "hands-on" conservation training, the workshops will focus on how to develop and initiate conservation policies and procedures and how to integrate them into the overall institutional framework of the library or historical records repository. Instructors include Paul Banks, Pamela Darling, William Joyce, Robert Schnare, Willman Spawn, and staff from NEDCC, the Archives and the Library. The first workshop is February 27-29, and the others May 14-16, September 10-12 and November 5-7; administrators of the different types of institutions will be taught in different workshops.

For more information contact Christine Ward, New York State Archives, Room 11D40, Cultural Education Center, Albany, NY 12230 (518/474-8955).\

British Library Announces New Department

The British Library News #89 for September 1983 gives the following information:

The British Library has emphasized the importance it puts on conservation of the collections by creating a new Preservation Service, with departmental status within the Reference Division. The Preservation Service will have the responsibility of helping the Library make the most effective use of present resources in tackling its immense conservation problems. Dr. David Clements has been appointed the first Director.

The Preservation Service will evaluate ways of getting the best possible returns from the total capacity for binding, conserving and filming materials at risk. The new Service will have a budget of about £5 million to spend each year on conservation, binding and first aid treatment, as well as microfilming....

The "building blocks" of the Preservation Service comprise existing parts of the Reference Division: the Conservation Branch, including the Bloomsbury and Colindale binderies; the conservation workshops of the Department of Manuscripts and Printed Books, and the India Office Library and Records; the Photographic and Reprographic Service; and the Science Reference Library binding preparation section.

[Dr. Clements' address is: D.W.G. Clements, Director, British Library Preservation Service, Great Russell St., London WC1B 3DG, England. British Library News is distributed monthly, free of charge, by the Press and Public Relations Section, 2 Sheraton St., London W1V 4BH. It is not clear whether BLN is also distributed overseas.]

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