Volume 26, Number 3
Preservation Instruction, Education, and Outreach
At ALA Annual, Atlanta, June 16, 2002
This is not a complete record of the Discussion Group's program
or of every topic discussed, but it looks useful and inspiring,
especially for preservation officers and their allies who are
looking for new approaches. Some of the attendees were: Marcia
Barrett, Sue Baughman, Sue Koutsky, Christine McCarthy, Julie Page,
and Patricia Ratkovich.
List of ideas and issues generated through presentations and
- One does not need a preservation department or program in
place to undertake preservation training, especially for care and
handling. Julie Page began her staff education efforts before her
department was fully operational or even staffed.
- It is critical to tie the information presented and the
goals of preservation awareness training, to staff job descriptions
and responsibility, if the training effort is to be successful. All
of the speakers mentioned this as important to buy-in. Staff should
come away from training with a sense that what they do is important
to preservation efforts.
- Tailored or targeted approaches offer opportunities to
concentrate preservation education on the needs of specific staff
and their responsibilities.
- Buy-in from staff supervisors is important for success. In
many instances, supervisors must carry this information forward
and/or pass it on to student assistants.
- Institutional culture may be an obstacle or a benefit to
training. Learning curriculums and other types of staff development
programs may encourage and support preservation efforts. Competing
constraints on staff time can cripple efforts—it is important
to change the perception that staff does not have the time to attend
even short programs.
- Highlighting the value of the collection may help to make
preservation education seem more like a necessity and less like a
luxury item. Preservation education is part of successfully
managing the investment portfolio known as the library's
- All staff at every level should receive basic preservation
- Show-and-tell is well-received. Use samples to illustrate
concepts. Both Julie Page and Sue Koutsky reported success using
hands-on demonstrations, such as letting staff test brittle papers
using double fold tests.
- Giveaways and takeaways create a positive atmosphere for
training. Julie Page offered book snakes and an opportunity to
decorate them to staff as part of her preservation outreach.
- Many activities can serve as "training" and support training
efforts—an open house, exhibits, make-your-own book snake,
- Use initial training sessions for feedback—as pilot
groups that are asked to critique the first sessions.
- Layers of training documentation facilitate training diverse
staff groups—Internet-based manuals, detailed procedures with
accompanying checklist or abridged version for refresher instruction
or referral. Manuals and quick reference allow staff to find their
own answers following training.
- Sell the message! Use anything and everything to get the
message across. This can be fun. Use any opportunity to remind or
encourage participation in training.
- Some preservation instruction does not lend itself to
written instructions, even with accompanying illustrations. Shelving
and proper removal of books from a shelf is best demonstrated.