In July 2002 the National Endowment for the Humanities awarded CRL a Preservation Assistance Grant. The grant supports the work of a consulting conservator to assess the Center’s 800,000-title foreign doctoral dissertations collection and prescribe and specify recommended preservation measures. The consultant will identify treatment options and preservation measure appropriate to the collection, which includes materials dating from the mid nineteenth century through the present year. Many of these materials are paperbound and fragile. The consultant will also conduct training sessions for CRL staff on best practices in handling and re-housing the collection.
Although the immediate focus of the grant is on the needs of the dissertations collection, the consultant’s investigations and recommendations will enable CRL to devise handling, re-housing, and simple treatment routines that address the preservation needs of similar, fragile paper based collections while accommodating the requirements for access to these collections.
Sherry Byrne, Preservation Librarian at the University of Chicago Library, is the consultant to the Center for the project. In charge of developing and managing a comprehensive preservation program at the University of Chicago since 1987, Ms. Byrne brings broad experience with planning and managing preservation programs for large libraries to this assessment project as well as knowledge of the Center and its collections. She has managed numerous preservation microfilming projects and is currently developing the University of Chicago Library’s digitization program.
Ms. Byrne began her evaluation of the collection in October and will complete the data-gathering portion of the study in November.