The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 12, Number 8
Dec 1988


Bibliographic Correct Ion To The OTA Report

John C. Williams, former head of the Library of Congress '5 Research and Testing Office, sent in the following corrections and additions to Book Preservation Technologies (Office of Technology Assessment, Washington, DC, 1988). They are being included in copies of the report that are sent out from the OTA director's office, but apparently not in the copies sent from the Government Printing Office.

Page 41-42: Whenever a reference to patent #4,051,276 is made, it should be modified to read:

U.S.P. 4,051,276, "Method of Deacidifying Paper," issued to John C. Williams and George Kelly, and assigned to the United States Government as represented by the Librarian of Congress.

Page 117: The papers listed under George B. Kelly in 1974 and 1978 should also include John C. Williams as co-author.

National Agricultural Library Joins Crowd, Does PPP

Not many people realize that we have three national libraries in Washington, DC: the Library of Congress, the National Library of Medicine, and the National Agricultural Library (NAL). First the Library of Congress (about 1972), then the National Library of Medicine (1984) established preservation programs that led the way for the rest of the country, based as they were on a thorough understanding of the preservation problems they had, in all their magnitude, and on realistic long-term approaches to them.

Perhaps by starting late the NAL can leapfrog the other two libraries, at least in some respects. It is in the middle of a preservation self-study right now, the Preservation Planning Program administered by the Association of Research Libraries. (Nine previous self-study reports were reviewed in this Newsletter, on p. 32-35 of the February issue.) Dr. Leslie A. Kulp, the Chief of the Collection Development staff, is heading it. The following task forces have been set up and should have made their reports by now:

Environmental Conditions of the Collection
Physical Conditions of the Collection
Organization of Preservation Activities
Disaster Control
Preservation Resources
Staff and User Education
Interinstitutional Cooperation

A long description of this project and the background to it, is in the August 1988 issue of Agricultural Libraries Information Notes (ALIN). ALIN's address is: U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library, ALIN Editor, Room 203, Beltsville, MO 20705.

Despite the fact that they are doing exactly the right thing to address their preservation problems, they may get a little flak from members of Congress whose constituents have received letters from people who have seen a letter that someone from Iowa sent out to newsletters in June in an attempt to reach their readers, and which appeared in the October GBW Newsletter. It summarizes the importance and poor condition of the library's collections, expresses fear that nothing will happen until a major disaster happens, and urges readers to write their congressmen. Now, of course, such a roundabout way of correcting conditions is unnecessary.

AAUP & MLA Support Permanent Paper

The Medical Library Association, which has a membership of 5000 individuals and institutions, issued two press releases October 7, saying it supported the work of the National Library of Medicine's Permanent Paper Task Force and was represented on the Task Force by three members:

Raymond Palmer (MLA executive director), Caroline Morris, and Paul Wakefield.

A recent survey of the full membership of the Association of American University Presses (AAUP) confirms strong commitment to the use of permanent paper. The survey was made in the summer of 1988 jointly by the AAUP Task Force on University Press-Library Relations and the Association of Research Libraries' Office of Management Services (ARL/OMS). Ninety-six percent of the responding 85 AAUP publishers indicated they use permanent or alkaline paper in the manufacture of at least some of their publications. Nearly 60% use permanent paper in all books; 14% use it in all books except paperbacks, and 7% use it for first printings. However, only half of the presses announce use of permanent paper in their books; 1/4 announce its use in their catalogs; and only 5% mention permanent paper use in their advertisements. For a list of findings, responding presses and their paper suppliers, send $15 to SPEC, ARL/OMS, 1527 New Hampshire Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20036. Request the Permanent Paper Survey.

In connection with this, Arthur Rosenthal, Director of Harvard University Press, commented on the preservation problem at a recent meeting of scholarly publishers: "Do any of us really want to defend the publishing of books that do not use acid-free paper? And can the libraries be free of guilt in permitting this practice to continue?"


The Employment and Training Administration has completed a preliminary review of models for an Apprenticeship 2000 program, which would support the training and placement of apprenticeships in the workplace. Comments from the public were to have been received by November 14. See the Federal Register for October 14, p. 40, 326-330.


Two New Groups

Gregorian to Leave NYPL for Brown

Vartan Gregorian, president and CEO of the New York Public Library, will return to academic life in April, when he will become the 16th president of Brown University. He distinguished himself in many ways at NYPL, notably by being one of the "stars" of "Slow Fires" (AN, July 1987, p. 85), and by raising money for the library. Over the last seven years, he nearly doubled the library's operating budget and increasing its endowment by 60%.

British Library Sees Security As Part Of Preservation

The National Preservation Office, an independent body created and funded by the British Library, has expanded its role to encompass the security of libraries and archives. It will provide an information and advisory service on security, offering seminars and training courses and producing publications aimed at librarians, archivists, and booksellers. The office will also conduct a feasibility study to evaluate the need for and cost of a central register of stolen or "missing" items, in order to reduce the trade in stolen rare books, manuscripts, plates, drawings or maps. The need for this function was identified at the Seminar on Library Security hosted by the British Library in June 1987, which was attended by representatives of the copyright libraries of the UK and Eire.

In the U.S., this function is filled by the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section of the Association of College and Research Libraries, part of the American Library Association.

New-York Historical Society In Crisis

James B. Bell, the director of the New-York Historical Society, resigned July 27, 1988, saying in a letter to the society's trustees that turmoil at the institution had led him to leave the post, which he has held since 1982.

The society's trustees also confirmed that they dismissed the society's associate director and chief financial officer, Joe D. Sollender, who had held his post since 1986.

The resignation of Mr. Bell and the dismissal of Mr. Sollender comes at a time of crisis for the historical society. In Mr. Bell's six years as director, the society's endowment has shrunk rapidly while operating expenses have soared. Nearly a quarter of the full-time staff was dismissed last month, with warnings of further severe cuts and layoffs if some $20 million is not quickly raised.

The 184-year-old society, which operates the state's oldest museum, has also curtailed exhibition space and visiting hours. The deterioration of hundreds of paintings and artifacts in storage has come to light, and the society's plan to regain its financial footing by auctioning portions of its collections has been criticized by many museum professionals.

A critical point was reached last February when the trustees determined that if the institution continued on its course, it had only 18 months of operation left before bankruptcy. (From the Fall 1988 Mid-Atlantic Archivist)

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