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Subject: AIC membership categories

AIC membership categories

From: Julie Page <julieallenpage<-at->
Date: Friday, April 10, 2009
This is a response to a statement that was in Niccolo Caldararo's
posting about "AIC Membership Categories" (Conservation DistList
Instance: 22:57 Monday, April 6, 2009)

The California Preservation Program assists California libraries and
archives and other California cultural institutions in emergencies
affecting buildings and collections via the CPP 24/7 emergency
number 888-905-7737.  A good disaster recovery company, under
guidance from institutional staff, can make the difference between a
prompt and effective response/recovery vs. chaos with loss or
permanent damage to collections.  There is now the great resource
through AIC of the AIC-CERT (Collections Emergency Response Team).
Those of us who provide emergency assistance (many are AIC-CERT
members since you don't have to be a conservator) are well aware of
this resource and will call our colleagues for telephone assistance
when appropriate.

The following is posted on behalf of Mary Morganti, Director of
Library and Archives at the California Historical Society, as well
as a member of the California Preservation Program Steering
Committee and Co-Administrator of the Bay Area Mutual Aid Network.
Following the emergency, Mary contacted the California Preservation
Program to discuss the options available and confirm her
decision-making process, including reviewing the referral to a
disaster recovery company familiar with working with cultural

Dear Mr. Caldararo,

If, in the following statement, you are referring to the December
flooding at the California Historical Society, you are entirely
mistaken in your evaluation of the incident:

>...  There are exceptions, as when a recent disaster in San
>Francisco damaged a historic archive and the organization called in
>a firm that has no conservators on staff to do the conservation. In
>this case, the archivists were educated and certified professionals
>who know about conservation but chose a firm (from what I have
>heard) on the basis of convenience and a referral. ...

If you had contacted me for further details, I would have welcomed
the opportunity to speak with you. Please allow me now to set the
record straight for the wider community of conservators. In the
early morning hours of Friday, December 19, 2008, a car demolished
the fire hydrant in front of our building and high-pressure water
forced its way under the front door, into the lobby and down into
our books vault. Library staff arriving to work in the morning
discovered the standing water, which had saturated the oak floors of
the lobby as well as the insulation and ceiling of the vault, and
immediately began clean-up procedures according to our emergency
response plan.

Water had soaked approximately one shelving range of books and
spread across the top of four ranges of compact shelving, affecting
several additional, but isolated sections of books. In addition to
needing to get the wet books packed-out and sent off-site for
freezing in order to prevent mold as well as buy time for
decision-making, the water-saturated ceiling had to be dealt with
promptly. Because of our small staff, the approaching weekend and
the Christmas holidays, we called for assistance from Belfor
Property Restoration, a firm known to us to be able to provide the
necessary man (and woman) power to remove the affected books as well
as remove and rebuild the soaked insulation, sheetrock ceiling,
shelving, ventilation ductwork, and electrical units.

Please be assured that conservation treatment of the affected books,
when it begins, will be undertaken by professional conservators. I
personally traveled to Belfor's Ft. Worth, Texas facility to
evaluate our books as they were removed from the vacuum
freeze-drying chamber in order to determine what additional
conservation treatments would be needed. I have significant
experience in responding to library and archival collections
emergencies and, having worked with a number of conservators over
the years, completely understand the knowledge and skills only they
can provide. It is our experience that a reliable company, such as
Belfor, will work closely with institutional staff to develop
protocols for handling affected materials. In this case, our
emergency response was completely appropriate to the circumstances.
It was, in fact, only because of our timely and decisive action that
any of our books were salvaged so they could eventually be restored.

Julie A. Page
Co-Coordinator, California Preservation Program (CPP) and
Western States and Territories Preservation Assistance Service

                  Conservation DistList Instance 22:58
                  Distributed: Sunday, April 12, 2009
                       Message Id: cdl-22-58-009
Received on Friday, 10 April, 2009

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