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Subject: Housing labs Exhibition space pH meters Visitors to BYU

Housing labs Exhibition space pH meters Visitors to BYU

From: Robert Espinosa <rje<-a>
Date: Sunday, August 21, 1988
Your housing lab sounds great.  If you did all the planning and ordering
in only a week and a half you can be proud. Planning labs seems to be
one of the more time consuming activities we get into, and there is
always the fear that some critical detail has been overlooked, and there
won't be electricity or paint on the walls.  Actually I think a "housing
lab" is an idea whose time has come (maybe I'm a little behind on all
this).  It makes so much sense to have an operation just dedicated to
this, gives housing an identity and sense of importance and increases
its visibility.  It also favors the specialization of labor which I
think is increasing necessary if we are to get anything done.  We
haven't created a housing lab per se, but we have those operations
increasingly manned by students trained to do just those operations, and
they are doing a great job.  But the idea of a special lab for this
really appeals to me, to better organize these operations and to
RECOGNIZE them as another main component of conservation services.  I
suppose the phase section at LC was sort of the precursor of this idea,
but its application in research libraries is really perfect, especially
if you can train a cadre of students to man it.  The repetitive nature
of the operations seem to lend themselves well to students, without huge
demands of training.  Anyway I'm just telling you what you already know,
but I applaud your efforts.  By the way, I too once had one of those
awful hickock wooden lying presses, which was here when I arrived, and
which I actually used for a couple of years, plough and all.  That is
what drove me to make my own.  I like those German numbers, even if the
plough is a bit funky. I used it at Columbia last spring when I was
giving a workshop and I was surprised that the plough was made out of a
hard abs-type plastic, which binds with the friction of moving it.  Not
the best choice of materials.  Otherwise they really seem to be well

    **** Moderator's comments:   The idea of a housing lab is hardly
    new, but we still, I fear, have a way to go in determining the way
    in which such a beast should function.  Matters of supervision, Q/C,
    training, impact on conventional treatment operations etc. need a
    great deal of consideration.  Particularly worrisome to me is the
    tendency of such an operation to develop a sort of autonomy within a
    dept, with corresponding loss of control, much as similar operations
    do when they are allowed to develop outside a conservation dept
    (i.e. housing programs in library depts or branch library). Physical
    proximity to a conservation lab, doesn't guarantee close interaction
    between the respective staffs.  (Similar concerns apply to basic
    repair operations).

    Our own proposed housing lab (I don't know yet whether it will be
    approved, and if so to what extent) is not fully 'planned'.  That
    is, we have not yet worked out the details of how the operation
    might proceed (why fuss until the cash is in hand?).

    As for the polypress, we have requested funds to get one and I'm
    keeping my fingers crossed.  They do, however, seem awfully

I've been trying to bring a new exhibition area up to standards and it
has been consuming all my energies since I got back.  My boss (Associate
University Librarian) who has been behind us from the start and is
really the guy who calls the shots here, is also famous for forging
ahead with an idea without consulting anyone.  This time he got the
money to create a new exhibition area out of one of the lounges.  By the
time he involved me, the cases were already built and most of the design
features spec'd out.  Now I am trying to "change a few things" without
seeming to second guess my boss or make too many enemies with the
physical plant people.  Typical institutional fare.  I have actually
learned a ....-load about the exhibition angle, mostly because I was so
ignorant, and there is nothing like doing it to educate one fast.  Since
we are planning  a new building in a few years, this was a good exercise
to warm me up I'm learning what not to build display cases out of and
how tricky it is to find decent materials.  I hate to do things in a
retrofit fashion, but welcome to life.  Nathan Stolow's new
Butterworth's book has helped as has Thompson's Museum Environment.  I
even did a seach on the Getty which was helpful.  I am using our
librarian here to do my searches because she specializes in computer
searches and is so much more efficient than I am.  When I watch here
maneuver around during the search I realize how much it helps to have
general experience with databases.  You probably have no trouble with
this, but it is not somethin g I have spent enough time with.

I too have been thinking of the possible utility of a pH/ise meter, and
have a feeling they could be useful to us.  My Orion has been nice, but
it already had to be sent back to the manuf. for a new capacitor.  The
other side of fancy circuitry.  I am assuming this was just one of those
electronic flukes--the kind that happen within the first several hours
of use if they are going to happen at all.  I have gotten use to the
portable and like the LED and all the snappy features.

This week we are having a lot of guests.  I invited Barbara Meierjames
to come out and do her mending workshop on Friday and Saturday as an
in-house workshop, and also because we have been good friends since my
LC days and I wanted to get her to come for a visit.  Laura Wait also
wanted to come and visit this summer so she decided to come for the
workshop and a couple extra days--she just walked in a minute ago. And
my old assistant who just finished the Columbia program, Terry Siebach,
is also coming out from New York to combine the workshop with job
interviews here.  We hope to have her back on by October. It is going to
be a fun week, starting today.  It has been a nice summer with several
visitors, Simon Green in early July after BPI, and Cathy Baker on her
way to SF.

                   Conservation DistList Instance 2:4
                  Distributed: Sunday, August 21, 1988
                        Message Id: cdl-2-4-002
Received on Sunday, 21 August, 1988

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