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UI Libraries receives NEH $300,000 three-year grant

We are pleased to announce that the UI Libraries has received a National Endowment of Humanities (NEH) $300,000 grant award for a three-year preservation and access project to provide conservation treatment and to digitize 150 oversize scrapbooks in the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection.

A page spread from a scrapbook in the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection

A page spread from a scrapbook in the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection

Since its acquisition in 1976, the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection has remained the leading vaudeville archive in the country. Documenting the activity of a prominent vaudeville theater company through more than 40 years of business, the collection is rich not only in newspaper clippings and other publicity, but in managers’ reports and financial records as well. As such, the Keith/Albee collection is more than scattered playbills and more than the personal archives of individual performers. This collection is context. The collection’s focus on the business of vaudeville provides an understanding of the industrial evolution of a major form of popular entertainment. In the end, the collection allows researchers to track the conditions that contributed to the decline of live entertainment and the rise of film—currently a field of intense scholarly interest. As a result of its strong research value, the Keith/Albee collection has been source material for a number of books and dozens of articles, reaching scholarly and popular audiences alike, throughout the past thirty years. As the study of the history and evolution of early, popular American entertainment grows, interest in the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection is expected to grow likewise.

A look at the type of damage to some of the scrapbooks in the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection.

A look at the type of damage to some of the scrapbooks in the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection.

In its current condition, the collection cannot sustain increased handling—let alone the handling it receives now. All of the scrapbooks’ substrate pages are brittle; only the amount of brittleness varies as does the amount of resulting loss and damage. A recent collection survey indicated that 56 percent of the scrapbooks have incurred some degree of loss or damage as a result of brittle paper and normal handling. More than 60 percent of the scrapbooks that have incurred enough damage to have their use limited or restricted entirely. Doing so would make approximately one-third of the collection off-limits to researchers. With this grant the Preservation and Conservation Department will be able to preserve this collection while increasing its access to researchers.

A special congratulations to co-authors Bethany Davis, Digital Processing Coordinator, and Patrick Olson, Special Collections Librarian for their excellent work and dedication to crafting a successful application to one of the most competitive grant programs.

Brittle fragments of paper collect in the spine area of a scrapbook from the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection.

Brittle fragments of paper collect in the spine area of a scrapbook from the Keith/Albee Vaudeville Theater Collection.

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Assisting Artists After Hurricane Sandy

Friday, February 8, 2013

Kraft and artist examine a painting When we inspect an artist’s work, we also ask for the story of the piece to learn more about its history and composition. The pieces that this artist brought in were her final project before graduation where she used as pure a blue, red, and yellow that she could get. She had her art studio in the basement and did not have time to get these pieces out before Hurricane Sandy. (Other higher priority items were taken out.) Each piece was in a plastic bag so there was some protection. Since the basement was flooded, she took everything outside to start drying things out. However while she had everything outside drying, it rained and then the temperature dropped. By the time the entire “hurricane event” was over, her sewer backed up twice. Staying on top of things was difficult.

Although theses pieces show a lot of damage, they are important to her. She plans salvaging them the best she can. A volunteer conservator will clean the pieces for her and then she will work on them as she has time, using advice provided by a conservator.

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Celebrate ALA Preservation Week: Learn about Disaster Preparedness

Thursday, April 21, 2011

FREE ALCTS webinar for Preservation Week!

On Tuesday, April 26, 2011, Nancy E Kraft, UI Libraries Preservation Librarian will present a webinar, “Accidents Happen: Protecting & Saving Family Treasures” at 2pm Eastern, 1pm Central, noon Mountain, and 11am Pacific Time. It’s an hour in length.

Accidents and disasters happen. When it does are you prepared? Are your family treasures stored safely in your home or elsewhere? How do you save your photos when they’ve been submerged in flood water? What do you do if your books smell mildewy? What if your basement floods or worse? Kraft will provide tips and tools for checking out possible hazards around the house, dealing with mold and salvaging keepsakes, documenting damage for insurance purposes, and keeping your family safe.

These webinars are developed for the general audience. You could show them as a program at your institution. If you sign up, it’s yours to show at a later date!

This is a complimentary webinar presented as part of the Preservation Week events. To register, visit the GoToWebinar site: https://www1.gotomeeting.com/register/168682080
For all other questions or comments related to the webinars, contact Julie Reese, ALCTS Events Manager at 1-800-545-2433, ext. 5034 or jreese@ala.org.

Posted on behalf of the ALCTS Continuing Education Committee.

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A Big Box for a Big Book

Say you have a really big book and need to house it in a box.  How can you get a two foot thick book in and out of a lidded box?

Answer:  a tailgate

This double walled box with lid and tailgate (side flap) was made by Conservation Assistant and boxmaker extraordinaire Linda Lundy.  It is constructed two layers of 100 pt. board and covered with maroon buckram.  It is quite sturdy and allows the user to get the book in and out without difficulty.

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10,000 page book bound at Conservation Lab

In Celebration of Iowa City being named a “City of Literature” by UNESCO,   Dr. Alphabet (Dave Morice) sponsored by Sackter House Media has completed his largest, longest, world-record breaking poetry marathon by creating a 100 volume work of 10,000 pages in 100 days.

The marathon was a highlight of a four-month exhibit at the University of Iowa Main Library honoring the history of the University of Iowa Writers Workshop and the Actualist Poetry Movement.  The full text is available online at

http://iowacitypoetrymarathon.com/index.html

The final text of 10,119 pages was printed out by Bu Wilson and bound by Bill Voss of the UI Library Preservation Dept.  The binding measures 8 1/2 x 11 x 24 inches and is possibly the thickest single volume book ever bound.

Poetry City Mararthon

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Exciting forum at ALA Annual

The forum Strategic Future of Print Collections attracted over 300 librarians. The forum was produced by Debbie Noland, Library Binding Institute, and Gary Frost, University of Iowa, and was sponsored by the Preservation and Reformatting  sub group and the Rare Books and Manuscripts sub group of the American Library Association. The program featured three presentations offering three perspectives on print delivery in a context of digital technologies.

Walt Crawford, commentator on role of libraries in society, offered an overview of the current dynamic use of print and screen resources in research libraries. He suggested that libraries promote “inclusionary” or “multiplatform” reading that combines use of print and screen resources. He also projects such interplay into the future; “We don’t know how interdependence (of print and screen) will play out – but can guess that all-digital is an inherently unlikely future except as an ideological assertion.”

Shannon Zachary, preservation librarian at the University of Michigan, described the intensive interaction of print and screen resources caused by Google Print reformatting. This processing has features of selection and de-selection that indicates a continuing role for print in a context of digital delivery. While Google reformatting of print books exponentially improves access there is more conflicted appraisal of the preservation implications. As with microfilm conversion, digital conversion progresses in context with a continuing role for print.

Doug Nishimura, senior researcher at IPI, continued a theme of interplay between print and digital technologies. He discussed how print on demand books enabled by digital sources and electrostatic printing promises to project the role of print far into the future. Research at the Image Permanence Institute is assessing the digital printing technologies and evolving diagnostic tools for performance and permanence of print on demand books.

The program proved very cohesive and conveyed a consensus across the wide perspectives presented. This consensus was that there is a digital future for print in libraries collections as both screen access, digital book manufacturing technologies and print reading all invigorate the future of books. A lively discussion concluded the forum and follow-up materials and bibliography will be available at an LBI web portal.

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Rare Book Exhibit Completed in Peru

A University of Iowa Library Preservation team Gary Frost, Conservator, Joyce Miller, project support and technician and Bill Voss, Exhibit Conservator, has completed a project to prepare and install a 26 case comprehensive exhibit of the treasures of the Library of the Convent of the Recoleta in Arequipa Peru. The two week project (May 26 to June 5) was completed on-site with materials supplied by Archival Products and the UI Libraries.

exhibit cases

This education exhibit depicts the amazing story of historical libraries in this highland colonial city. These books introduced European learning into equally complex indigenous culture and so advanced dynamics of empire still in motion in the Americas. The library of the Recoleta contains 22,000 volumes spanning the 16th to 19th centuries and is rich in linguistics, history, sciences, arts and literature, religious doctrine and scripture, and philosophy. The library was founded in 1661. It features early Peruvian imprints including unique copies.

Fabulous voyages were required to bring European books to Peru. Outward voyages went southward to the Canary Islands where the westward winds were encountered. A long Atlantic crossing brought the cargo to Hispaniola in the Caribbean. Another voyage across pirate waters came finally to land at the isthmus of Panama. This overland crossing of swamp and mountains was no less difficult than the previous sailings. On the Pacific coast newly constructed ships began the long voyage down to Lima. Finally, books destine for Arequipa still required the long desolate crossing of the vast inland desert before the books reached the start of the highlands.

gary and guests in the workshop

The Library was used by a Franciscan Order with missions to many colonial communities. Here readers prepared their minds for great dramas of contact between cultures and great challenges of interaction. For the Padres the library is not just books but it is also a state of mind. UI Staff members enjoyed this exotic excursion into a different book culture. The UI team was honored at a spectacular opening reception given at the historical Cloister.

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Marriage Certificate Repaired

Thursday, July 23, 2009


This Marriage Certificate arrived at the Conservation Lab tightly rolled in a tube. It was in two torn halves, somewhat soiled and quite tattered along the edges with some degree of loss particularly along the right margin.

The treatment that followed included a gentle humidification and flattening, followed by dry cleaning using Minter eraser crumbs and Absorbene sponge eraser. Kristin secured strategic bridge mends of tenjugo along the major tear to insure proper matching of scarfed edges, and then lined the entire certificate onto a medium-lightweight Korean handmade paper. The lining enforced an additional gentle flattening of the certificate and countered it’s tendency to curl.

Once the lining was dry and the certificate flat, Kristin createdcustom-tinted double layer/sandwich infills for areas of loss. A thicker more fibrous paper was used for the bulk of the infills (to echo the thickness of the certificate) and was thin sekishu-gampi was then adhere along the top of the infill (to echo the calendared sheen of the original paper). Custom color tinting was achieved post-mends, using acrylics and a “dry-swab” technique.

 

 

Text provided by Kristin A Baum.

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Art Books To Campus Freezer

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Once the art books were safely stashed in the freezer truck, we began looking for on campus freezers. We found one in Macbride Hall — a nice sized walk in freezer. We were able to get all but 50 boxes into the freezer.

As Rijn and I were brainstorming how to squeeze the final 50 boxes into the freezer, Cindy Opitz stopped by and asked us if we needed any more freezer space. Her department, right around the corner, has a walk in freezer, too! Problem solved. The final group will go to her freezer on Thursday.

All our books will be in the same building, just a couple blocks away from the Main Library. It will be easy to pick up a few boxes every couple weeks to put new books into the freeze dryer as we pull dry ones out.

It was refreshing to see such a simple freezer monitoring device after the day and half training on the book freeze dryer controls.