The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 16, Number 4
Aug 1992

Conference Report: Training in Collections Conservation

by Barclay Ogden
Conservation Department, UC Berkeley Library

Forty-two preservation administrators and conservators representing 22 libraries throughout the country met at UC Berkeley April 28 to May 2 to design training programs for conservation technicians responsible for care and repair of circulating collections materials. Participating libraries were selected on the basis of geographic distribution and on their commitment to collections conservation, including a commitment to serve as a regional training site.

Funding for the conference was provided by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Office of Preservation and Access.

The conference had three goals: to develop model plans for training technicians in collections conservation, to develop management and funding plans for regional implementation of collections conservation training; and to provide opportunities for professional development for collections conservators. Staff from the ARL Office of Management Services coached the conference staff and helped facilitate the conference.

Toward the first goal, outlines for plans for training technicians in collections conservation were completed, including training objectives, audiences for the training, curricula and supporting documentation, and teaching resources. Treatment documentation to support training will be completed by the end of December 1992 and submitted to the Association for Research Libraries, Office of Management Services, for publication.

Toward the second goal, management and funding plans for implementation of regional training were explored and roughly sketched out, including estimates of training costs, funding needs, and institutional interests; and participants from within each region met together to design a regional plan.

Toward the third goal, tasks and discussions were organized to provide formal and informal professional development opportunities. Conservators worked together, engaging in a group discussion on the scope of the collections conservation field; spent a day exploring teaching techniques in collections conservation, reviewed documentation developed by many of the participating institutions to support collections conservation programs, and brainstormed on the future needs of collections conservation.

Very importantly, with the successful development and implementation of this conference model to address a particular preservation need shared by many research libraries, the preservation field has at its disposal a proven way to address other shared preservation problems and to build consensus toward their resolution.

Further information on the progress of regional training opportunities may be obtained from Erich Kesse, Preservation Officer, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611 (email: erikess@nervm.bitnet; phone 904/392-6962).

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