The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 19, Number 6
Nov 1992


Sign of the Times

For years people in preservation have been saying that their ultimate goal was to integrate preservation with the rest of the organization. That goal is being realized. In CAN #50, there are three consecutive announcements of appointments in the People section that included new hybrid titles:

International Book Bank

In some countries, people who have no funding are struggling to preserve their libraries and archives. They feel isolated and handicapped without access to professional preservation literature. They may receive boxes of donated books to rebuild their collections, but the books are often in poor condition, outdated, or irrelevant to their needs.

On the other side of this information barrier, there are U.S. publishers who have to destroy large numbers of recent books (42,000,000 textbooks yearly, as well other types of books). There are also bookstores with stocks of unsold books, and even libraries and personal collectors who have extra books that could be put to good use.

The International Book Bank (IBB) was formed in 1987 to combat illiteracy in the Caribbean, and is funded by both governmental and nongovernmental agencies. Its emphasis is still on education, but its geographical scope has widened to include parts of Eastern Europe and Africa as well. It lists and screens books, and ships them in sea containers, in quantities of 202000, to the port nearest to the recipient organization(s). Recipients have also been screened and have previously selected books from the list.

Whether the IBB could send preservation literature to libraries and archives is something that could be explored. (Books cannot be sent to governmental agencies.) Johns Hopkins Press has taken part in this plan, according to the April 1992 Guild of Book Workers Newsletter, but it sent superceded science reference books, not preservation books.

The IBB is at 608L Folcroft St., Baltimore, MD 21224 (800US-GRANT [U.S. only]; 410/6332929; Fax 410/6333082).

Hoover Institution will Film USSR Archives

The Hoover Institution will take part in a joint program to microfilm the archives of the former Communist Party of the Soviet Union and the State Archives, now under the jurisdiction of the Committee for Archival Affairs of the Russian Federation (Roskomarkhiv). The microfilm will be made broadly accessible to the Russian people and the world community. An international editorial board will choose the material to film. Microfilm footage of interest to scholars will be selected for publication jointly by the Roskomarkhiv, the Hoover Institution and the International Committee of Scholarly Advisors. Distribution outside Russia will be through Chadwyck-Healey.

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