Preservation Bootcamp

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November 18, 2013 by J. Johnson

More than 100 librarians and archivists from around the state recently gathered at the Holiday Inn in Worthington for a two-day program entitled Preservation Bootcamp. Funded by a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), members and staff of the State Library of Ohio, Ohio Historical Society, Ohio Museums Association, and Ohio Local History Alliance collaborated to provide instruction, conversation, and fun, all relating to the core ideas of preservation.
Day one began with a continental breakfast service and check-in, where attendees were issued binders that contained schedules, contact information, and a wealth of presentation materials for the next two days (those not able to attend can find these materials online at Presentations commenced with an introduction led by Beverly Cain, State Librarian; Missy Lodge, Associate State Librarian for Library Development; and Tom Clareson, Senior Consultant for Digital & Preservation Services LYRASIS; and were followed by an overview of preservation program basics that featured academic, conservation, and museum professionals.
A slight shift in focus brought us to our lunchtime presentation by Mike Denison from Roto, a firm based in central Ohio that designs and produces exhibits for museums and other venues which has exhibits placed all over the world. Mike is the Senior Exhibit Designer at Roto and had an abundance of knowledge to share with us regarding visitor experience and interaction.
After lunch the classroom-style sessions began, much like a traditional conference. Unlike a traditional conference, however, the group was divided into specific groups with preset schedules that had been carefully aligned so that each participant was able to attend all the sessions. This alleviated the problem of having to choose between two programs that you wanted to attend, and was a good group experience as well. Additionally, most sessions had multiple presenters, which helped to expand the discussion on each subject.
My schedule was set for “Collections Care and Environmental Controls,” where the group learned about the challenges faced when preserving and conserving non-traditional materials and the impact that weather and seasonal changes can have on both building structures and collection objects themselves.
During dinner, Andrew Cayton, a University Distinguished Professor of History from Miami University spoke about the importance of history to our culture and our humanity, in both the small and large scale. After dinner there was one more treat in store for us–a film festival! Complete with popcorn and candy, we watched three videos that related to preservation issues that cultural institutions have faced.
Day two began bright and early with sessions on Disaster Preparedness and Preservation Grantwriting. We watched a demonstration of the effects that water can have on collection items and then learned about preservation grants available to organizations and the experiences of applying for and using them.
During lunch, we had the chance to participate in ‘talk tables’, which were new to me but a great way to keep the preservation conversation going. Each of the 11 lunch tables had a sign with that table’s topic, covering many aspects of preservation and collection care. Each table also had an assigned facilitator who asked questions and wrote down some of the ideas that we had relating to our topic. These ideas will be used as feedback to aid in developing future programs.

After lunch there was one more session to attend and, for me, it was Digitization/Digital
Preservation Basics. This meeting was jam-packed with information about digitization projects that these institutions had executed and with information for those that are just starting their digitization plans.

To close the program, attendees reconvened to hear some parting words from Wes
Boomgaarden, Head of the Preservation and Reformatting Department and Associate Professor for the Ohio State University Libraries. Wes recounted stories from his career and reflected on where our profession has been and where it is going. And just as with the presenters before him, his passion for his profession shone through and inspired us all to go back to our organizations and apply what we had learned in the past two days.

More information, presentations, and handout materials from the program can be found at A Connecting to Collections mailing list has been created that can be joined by visiting Stay tuned for news of more programs that you can attend!

This article was included in the OLC SSCD Fall 2013 Newsletter


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