The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 21, Number 2
Jul 1997


NARA Welcomes its First Research Fellow: Paul Banks

Last year Archivist John Carlin directed a committee to identify an appropriate candidate from the preservation field to be NARA's first fellow. A Preservation Policy and Services Division staff working group chaired by Diana Alper Roley evaluated more than 30 candidates and projects. The committee selected Paul Banks of the Conservation Center, Institute of Fine Arts, New York University, to be NARA's first research fellow.

With a background in printing and hand bookbinding, Paul Banks served as Conservator and Head of the Conservation Department of the Newberry Library in Chicago for 17 years. In 1981, Mr. Banks established the first graduate training programs in library and archives conservation at the School of Library Service, Columbia University, which he directed until 1987. He moved with the Preservation and Conservation Studies Programs to the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas, Austin, in 1992. NARA currently employs six of his former graduate students.

Paul Banks has taught, lectured, consulted and published widely. His principal research interests are the theory of library and archives conservation and the effects of environment on collections. He is currently working on a book on conservation theory.

During the next 18 months, the Preservation Policy and Services Division will be hosting Paul Banks while he conducts his work, "Environmental Control as a Preservation Tool." While an appropriate environment is fundamental for preserving collections, there is controversy over balancing the cost of installing, maintaining and fueling climate control systems with the long-term benefits of such systems. Since March, Banks has been touring selected NARA facilities nationwide to observe the condition of NARA holdings and facilities, evaluate current and future preservation capability and develop facility and environmental control system models. (From the NARA Staff Bulletin for Jan. 15, 1997.)

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