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[AV Media Matters] A death

Moderators Comment:
Dear Friends,
I saw this sad news on another listserve today. I don't know how many of
you knew Paul, but I had the honor of taking two of his classes at the
Palmer Institute as a student, and also had some of his students here at
VidiPax on several occassions. Paul and I would occassionally go out for
a meal, and both discuss aspects of preservation and the archival field,
and we would both call each other occasionally with a particularly
vexing problem or issue. I would also meet up with Paul at various
events - and we would usually both be surprised to see the each other
because the meetings would inevitabley not be "main stream" but WOULD be
interesting. Paul always was on top of what was "happening" and had an
incredible ability to put the "new" innovation in context to what has
happened in the past - a VERY unusual skill.

Paul was truly a "guru". Paul was an incredible source of information
and knowlege - he was one of the places where I would go for
information, and on several occassions we would discuss aspects of
preservation and audio visual materials.  Even though Paul's main
expertise came from the "paper" world - he was extremely curious and had
a huge in depth knowlege of the entire gamut of preservation activities
- from still photography to offset lithography to video, Paul had an
innate ability to readily understand and COMMUNICATE his knowlege. In
this regard he was particulary gifted. He was always willing to share
his knowlege and to help others.  A very special gift.

I shall miss him.

jim lindner

Date: 19 May 2000
From: Karen L. Pavelka <pavelka@mail.utexas.edu>
Subject: A death

I regret to inform you that Paul N. Banks, pioneer in the field of
library and archives conservation, died on May 10, 2000.  Paul was a
founding member of AIC, Treasurer 1977-79, President 1979-81, and an
Honorary Member.

Paul began his career in the late 1950s as a book designer in New
York City.  He worked with Carolyn Horton, taught bookbinding in New
York, and in 1964 was invited to become Head of Conservation at the
Newberry Library in Chicago, one of the first designations of such a
position in the United States.  At the Newberry he developed a
library-wide conservation program and began his technical study of
library storage conditions and environmental control.  Paul was a
member of the team that responded after the Florence flood and this
experience helped to shape his ideas about the collections approach
to book conservation.

In the early 1970s, Paul began his long effort to establish a
training program for library conservators and preservation
librarians.  In 1981, with the help of the National Endowment for
the Humanities, he became the first Director of the Library and
Archives Conservation Education Programs at the School of Library
Service, Columbia University.  This program continues today at the
Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University
of Texas at Austin.  This is perhaps his greatest legacy to the
future and the achievement of which he was the most proud.  The
momentum of forces he set in motion has changed library culture and
his hundreds of students, active in the preservation fields, will
continue to construct his vision.

Until his death, Paul was active with assignments as consultant to
the Library of Congress and Advisor to the National Archives and
Records Administration, notably in the specification for storage and
display of the Declaration of Independence, the U. S. Constitution
and the Bill of Rights.  Paul was appointed the first National
Archives Fellow in Preservation in 1998.

Paul was a very persuasive teacher, adamant campaigner for the role
of preservation in culture and an irresistible companion.  At his
request, no funeral will be held, but there are many of us who will
hold small, local gatherings to honor him.  Those who wish to do so
may make donations to the Paul N. Banks Endowed Graduate Fellowship
at the University of Texas at Austin.

Jim Lindner - President
VidiPax - The Magnetic Media and Information Migration Full Services
Telephone 212-563-1999
Moderator of A/V Media Matters@topica.com

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