IMALERT Disaster Hotline for Cultural Collections Live July 1, 2016

Friday, July 1, 2016

During a disaster, time is critical but help is a phone call away. IMALERT Hotline: 319-384-3673.

IMALERT Training Exercise
IMALERT Training Exercise
As of today the Iowa Museums, Archives, and Libraries Emergency Response Team (IMALERT) is providing a hotline service to cultural institutions experiencing an emergency or disaster. The IMALERT Hotline at 319-384-3673 can connect staff with the information and expertise needed to respond to, and recover from, any level of incident from a leaking pipe to a major flood. Through the team’s vast experience in conservation, preservation and emergency response and recovery, help is available to assess damage to collection materials, make recommendations for recovery, assist with decision making on drying out buildings, and demonstrate salvage techniques and/or help organize the initial salvage operation.

In 2008, rapid response by an informal emergency response team saved 90% of the flood-damaged material at the African American Museum of Iowa. I saw the huge difference having a team on the ground the minute access was allowed into the building. With a formal team in place, we are in position to help others in time of an emergency.

Support to form the team was provided through an Institute of Museum and Library Services planning grant, the State Historical Society of Iowa Historical Resource Development Program training grant, and the Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium.

IMALERT is an initiative of the Iowa Conservation and Preservation Consortium: http://www.iowaconserveandpreserve.org/
Contact: iowa.conserveandpreserve@gmail.com

Highlights from 2015: William Anthony Conservation Lecture

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The second annual William Anthony Conservation Lecture was held on the the 8th of October, 2015.  Gary Frost, Conservator Emeritus and instructor of book conservation at SUNY Buffalo spoke about the history of bookbinding and the University of Iowa Conservation Department’s bookbinding model collection which was the creation of the lecture’s namesake.  The collection has grown into an invaluable teaching tool and asset to the conservation department and the University of Iowa Center for the Book.

Mr. Frost served as the University of Iowa Libraries’ conservator from 1999 to 2011.  Mr. Frost is credited with championing the teaching role of the conservation lab and its staff, a distinction of which the department still prides itself.

Gary Frost is a book conservator and book arts educator. His career includes faculty positions at Columbia University, University of Texas at Austin and University of Iowa. He is currently Conservator Emeritus, University of Iowa Libraries. Gary has been awarded the Banks and Harris Award of the American Library Association and the Lifetime Award of the Guild of Book Workers. He is a Fellow of the American Institute for Conservation.

For those who could not make the lecture, a video of the event is forthcoming, and details will be posted to Preservation Beat as available.

Soot and Dust Clean Up

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Discussion soot clean upIt really is a small world. As a volunteer for the AIC-CERT Disaster Response hotline, I had a call with a question about soot drifting in from a fire a couple doors down. On further inquiry, I discovered that the caller was from Traer, Iowa, only 90 miles away. Rather than trying to explain how to go about cleaning soot over the phone, we agreed that an on-site visit would be best.

Cleaning and dust soot from bookWhen our conservator Giselle Simón and I met with staff at the Traer Historical Museum, we were much relieved to see that the dusting of soot was very minor. We discussed cleaning techniques and strategies for organizing the volunteer cleaning session they were planning. Giselle demonstrated how to use an absorene dry cleaning sponge and a microfiber preservation quality dusting fabric cloth. We encouraged them to purchase a Nilfik HEPA vacuum cleaner and recommended supplies. They sent us a note that they did make the recommended purchases and are ready to start cleaning.

Benefit Auction and Plainly Spoken Reception at University of Iowa Library

Binding by Mark Esser
Binding by Mark Esser

Two events will mark the closing of the UI Libraries Conservation Lab’s 30th anniversary celebration: a reception for the Midwest Guild of Bookworkers Exhibit Plainly Spoken, and an auction of fine bindings, to benefit the William Anthony Conservation Fund. The festivities will take place in Special Collections, 3rd floor of the Main Library, on November 13th from 6-8pm.

• The exhibit, Plainly Spoken, features 17 fine bindings from Guild members who were inspired by Julia Miller’s Publication, Books Will Speak Plain. The exhibit runs from August 14-November 30 in Special Collections.

• The Auction will feature fine bindings from “alumni” and friends of the Conservation Lab, including Mark Esser, Pamela Spitzmueller, Gary Frost, Penny McKean, Anna Embree, Emily Martin, William Minter, Lawrence Yerkes, Bill Voss, Caitlin Moore, and handmade tools from Shanna Leino. In the coming days we will be posting biographies and images from all the auction participants — stay tuned!

Proceeds from the auction will benefit the William Anthony Conservation Fund, which supports ongoing conservation activities and special projects. More details are available at http://www.lib.uiowa.edu/preservation/30years/.

Preservation & Conservation Welcomes New Hires

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Beth Stone and Justin Baumgarten in front of Keith/Albee scrapbooksThe UI Libraries Preservation & Conservation department would like to welcome two new(ish) staff members, Justin Baumgartner and Elizabeth Stone. They join us as members of the Keith/Albee project team. They will be working together, along with other UI Libraries staff, to stabilize and digitize the Keith/Albee collection. Both Justin and Elizabeth are University of Iowa graduates who are no strangers to employment at the UI Libraries.

Elizabeth Stone started on July 21, 2014 as the Keith/Albee Project Conservator. She is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa Center for the Book where she studied bookbinding, letterpress printing, and book history. As a student, she worked in Preservation & Conservation salvaging flood-damaged items from the National Czech & Slovak Museum & Library and the African American Museum of Iowa.

Justin Baumgartner started on July 22, 2014 as the Keith/Albee Digital Project Librarian. He is a recent graduate of the University of Iowa School of Library & Information Science. As a student, he worked in the UI Libraries Special Collections & University Archives and interned for the Digital History Project at the Iowa City Public Library.

The duo will shepherd 125-150 oversize scrapbooks through conservation and digitization workflows during the next three years. Visit the growing digital collection at digital.lib.uiowa.edu/keithalbee .

The Keith/Albee project is a three-year project to stabilize, digitize, and provide online access to the Keith/Albee collection which documents the activity of a prominent vaudeville theater company through more than 40 years of business. The records chronicle the expansion of the Keith/Albee circuit, changes in its leadership, and the eventual decline of vaudeville.ka_blog_q1bBlog

The Keith/Albee Project has been made possible in part by a major grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor.

Buffalo and Iowa Connection

Wednesday, September 3, 2014
By Gary Frost

Buffalo workshopA library and archives specialty is now accommodated within art conservation programs at the University of Delaware, New York University and Buffalo State College. Iowa is among others supporting and participating in this overall initiative that is generously supported by the Andrew Mellon Foundation.

UI has begun hosting short term Internships for students from the Buffalo State College. These students have elected to specialize in book conservation at their home program and welcome the opportunity to experience the varied service routines of a working preservation department.

The Buffalo and Iowa exchange is coordinated by Iowa Conservator Emeritus Gary Frost. He is traveling from Iowa to Buffalo to offer book conservation training sessions, three times a semester. Frost also presents a three-week summer workshop in Buffalo that is opened to students from all the art conservation programs.

The Buffalo/Iowa exchange has benefits for everyone. Beyond support of graduate education in library and archives preservation Iowa offers unique resources for the students. Beyond experience in a working preservation department the Iowa Center for the Book provides experience of traditional crafts of book production while intense learning going on between Buffalo and Iowa students is also an important factor. The mutual student learning suggests other initiatives including cross-program workshops hosted by Iowa and cross-program curricula.

The Buffalo/Iowa exchange is a classic win-win transaction. Considering the students benefits it is a win-win-win transaction.

Iowa Collections Emergency Response Team Training

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Selecting tools for trunk kitYesterday twenty-five individuals from around Iowa gathered at the Camp Dodge Gold Star Military Museum in Johnston to begin training as a member of the Iowa Collections Emergency Response Team (Iowa CERT). Many of Iowa’s documentary collections are scattered in museums and libraries throughout the state. These diverse collections together form an invaluable statewide historical resource. Small institutions in particular often do not have the staff or financial capacity to respond appropriately when the collections are threatened. This training will build a network of experts throughout the state who can respond quickly to emergencies of different sizes and types. The assembled team is comprised of geographically-distributed staff from libraries, museums, archives, and other collecting institutions. The training is partially funded by an Historical Resource Development Program grant awarded to the Iowa Preservation and Conservation Consortium (ICPC). Training is coordinated by the University of Iowa Libraries staff, Nancy E Kraft, Brenna Campbell, and Elizabeth Stone.

First day of training concentrated on learning how to organize, plan, and respond to disaster. Each team member received a trunk tool kit with basic tools for responding to a disaster – hammers, screw drivers, pliers, caution tape, etc.

UI Libraries receives Carver grant to renovate exhibition space

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Exhibit Hall 1960In April, the University of Iowa Libraries was awarded $500,000 by the Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust in support of the renovation of the Main Library Exhibition Space. Very exciting news!

Our current space was constructed in 1951 and has not changed much since then. Over the years, using the space as an exhibit became more and more challenging. Plus it was a space that people walked through to get from one side of the building to the other making it very difficult to engage anyone in an exhibit.

Due to the Learning Commons project which was completed in 2013, the current exhibition space is now a self-contained area. Anticipating the exhibition possibilities that the Exhibit Hall 2014 ConceptLearning Commons renovation would open up, we began working with consultant Liz Kadera on a gallery and exhibition space presentation. We were delighted that our new Library Director John Culshaw liked our concept drawings and pulled a team together to draft a proposal to present to the Carver Trust.

The renovation will create a more suitable and secure space dedicated to displaying books, manuscripts, maps, documents, artworks, and more from the Libraries collections.

Construction is planned to begin this fall with a proposed completion date of spring 2015.

First image courtesy of the UI Archives, 1960. Second image courtesy Liz Kadera, 2013.

UI Conservator Emeritus Gary Frost to participate in library and archives conservation program.

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The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a generous grant to the Art Conservation Department at Buffalo State College. This funding will provide expanded development of Library and Archives Conservation training.

Frost will provide student instruction and advisement in the expanded program. He will travel to Buffalo twice a semester and provide a summer course in historical book structures. Students will have an opportunity for internships and exchange with the University of Iowa Libraries Conservation and Preservation department.

Frost continues to volunteer at the University of Iowa Libraries and also welcomes UICB/SLIS applicants within the American Institute for Conservation Mentor Program.

The Wunderkammer at Grinnell: Supporting Foldouts

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Submitted by Brenna Campbell

Fold out_blogMany of the books in the Wunderkammer show at Grinnell had elaborate foldout illustrations, which required custom supports. These were typically made separately from the cradle, and were often strapped into place once the book was in its display case. It was important to strap the book so that the illustration was easy to see, but also to allow the book to open naturally, without putting strain on the binding.

The show opened on October 4th, and will remain up through December 15th. More details can be found here: http://www.grinnell.edu/about/offices-services/faulconer-gallery/exhibitions/wunderkammer