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Re: workshop ideas



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Kevin,  this is from a long time lurker... seizing an opportunity to contribute. I'll try to confine my suggestions to those aspects of my lectures that are interactive. I apologize in advance for the lengthy post.
I teach care and handling workshops each year to James Madison University English Honor students who are about to begin their thesis research. Many of them will be using the SAME reference materials over and over therefore, the care and handling is very important. Kevin, in your case, librarians are observed handling and using books thereby  setting examples and teaching patrons. Librarians will also be
in a position to make changes in their future environments and need to know how to recognize damaging influences.  Two causes of damage are emphasized, however,  use and inherent.

Damage from USE: This workshop is taught  in a room with shelved books on 3 walls but providing filled booktrucks scattered around the room is satisfactory. I explain the parts of a book (endsheets, coverboards, textblock, headcap, tail, waist, etc.) They are all asked to get up and remove a book from the shelf/booktruck. Discussion follows re: proper and improper ways to remove a book. The correct way is
demonstrated to prevent torn headcaps.

We have a well established collections conservation unit at the main JMU library and I have access to many examples of damaged and repaired materials to show and prompt discussions. I give simple explanations of spine replacements due to torn headcaps from improper removal (USE)or weak cover material from exposure to uv rays(INHERENT). Librarians should be encouraged to lobby for uv shielding on windows
if library materials are shelved in direct sunlight. Also exhibited are puppy chewed damaged books, items with spilled food and drink on them, mutilated pages and replacement pages, torn endsheets (often results from shelving on fore-edge) and new endsheets and the time and costs of these repairs is noted.

A few quick comments are made discouraging dog-earring pages, using paper clips and objects as bookmarks and post-it-notes on items you want to keep forever.  Preservation bookmarks are given out.

Also, everyone is given a covered mug upon leaving to discourage spilled drink. The staff and faculty also appreciate this when given a preservation orientation at the beginning of their employment. Our university food service markets and sells these mugs. They run a student contest every year for mug design and they give us free-of-charge the leftover last year's model design mugs for distribution for
the purpose of library preservation.

INHERENT damage: A quick history of papermaking and an explanation of acidic content and the ensuing damage is shockingly demonstrated and experienced by providing brittle paper on each table. They are asked to ball the paper up/crumble.  It creates a mess but definitely makes an indelible impression.  Abbey pH pens are provided (we must share) and a mixture of permanent paper and highly acidic paper is
placed on each table and students are encouraged to "test" the papers. Books are then provided to everyone to look on the verso for the infinity sign or simple declaration of the paper being acid-free. Afterall, care and handling is not just for library books but for protection of personal libraries as well. This is supporting the manufacturers of permanent paper and encourages one to look for the
indication of pH neutral paper when purchasing books for one's own library. JMU students are required to publish their theses on permanent paper.  Environmental (temp. and RH) influences on paper are also discussed with examples circulated of moldy books in a ziplock bags, of course.

Again, sorry for the length of this post but hope you can cull some interactive ideas and improve on them.

Mary Wilson Stewart
Preservation Manager
Carrier Library/JMU
Harrisonburg, VA
stewarmw@jmu.edu

Kevin Driedger wrote:

> I have been asked to teach a couple "Materials handling and book repair" workshops to new librarians. They will be 2 hours long with 30-35 people in each of the 2 sessions.
> I'd appreciate hearing others ideas, or any sage advice on leading this type of workshop.
>
> Kevin Driedger
> Lansing, Michigan

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