The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 18, Number 4-5
Aug-Sep 1994


Hot Preservation Topics from ALA 1994, Miami

by Tom Clareson

The 1994 Annual Conference of the American Library Association (ALA), held June 23-30 in Miami Beach, Florida, included a number of excellent sessions and discussion of one of the hottest topics in recent memory: the merger of the Preservation of Library Materials Section (PLMS) and Reproduction of Library Materials Section (RLMS) into a combined entity, the Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS).

Both before and after members voted in the merger, a great deal of work had been put into the "unification" by a number of PLMS and RLMS officers and members, and it was evident when the changes were outlined at the PLMS/ RLMS Joint Reporting Session on Saturday, June 25.

Existing committees were mapped into new committee structures. Committees under the PARS structure will include:

Each of these committees will have their first meeting under the new structure at ALA Midwinter 1995 in Philadelphia. While discussion groups and task forces had to petition to continue their existence, most of the groups existing prior to the merger will continue. PARS Co-chairs Bob DeCandido and Robert Harriman are performing "fine-tuning" on the structure prior to ALA Midwinter.

A preconference session titled "Developing the Midas Touch: Rethinking Funding Strategies for Preservation" was held June 23 and co-sponsored by PLMS and the National Institute for the Conservation of Cultural Property (NIC). An "all-star" cast of presenters covered "new and different" alternatives for preservation program funding. Highlights of the session were a "Fundraising 101" talk by Victoria Steels, Head of the Department of Special Collections at the University of California and author of a book on the subject, who stressed ongoing relationships with individual donors, and a panel of library administrators and preservation program officers sharing strategies (including licensing and usage fees, tailored and focused subject-specific fundraising programs, and stressing your record of success) and experiences.

A well-attended progam on "Selling Preservation: What to Say to the Customer" was held June 27. Co-sponsored by PLMS and the Library Instruction Round Table, the session featured Acting ALA Executive Director Peggy Sullivan, Wellesley (MA) Free Library Director Anne Reynolds, Cheryl Holland of Washington University-St. Louis, and Lorraine Olley of Indiana University covering a gamut of preservation issues with applications to all types of libraries. Advocating the concepts of library materials as "shared property," "capital assets" and materials to which access and preservation are key issues, the group discussed posters, exhibits and events which can help to "sell" preservation to both library staff and users. A large number of handouts were available at the session; program planners hope to recap the session and available materials in a future publication.

Other key meetings were the Preservation Administrators' Discussion Group, which held a round-robin discussion on digital technology as a preservation tool, and a joint meeting of the Library Vendor Relations Discussion Group and the Library Binding Discussion Group, featuring a panel session on commercial conservation binding services.

For further information on these and other ALA Annual 1994 sessions, please contact Tom Clareson, AMIGOS Preservation Service Manager, 800/843-8482.

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