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Re: [BKARTS] more thoughts regarding AIC certification



  Dear Peter and Charles, et al
      The exchange between you is reminding me of the story, popular in
Boston, of the cashier at the twelve items or fewer express check out lane
who looks up at the young person who has unloaded a cart of twenty some
items and asks "Are you from MIT and can't read, or from Harvard and can't
count?"  There seems to be a current crisis in the process of education in
that some people get "conservation training" in chemistry, administrative
procedures, labratory management, etc, at the expense of bench time and
binding technique in academic institutions and others get bench instruction
outside such institutions.  All these things are essential skills needed for
modern conservation practice.  The need is to create programs that provide
all these things to students in a reasonable time framework.
   I might point out, too, that there is a serious misrepresentation in this
either/or business since many of us had academic educations, (including
chemistry) as well as bench training.   I also know of many persons from
'conservation' programs who have gone out and acquired bench skills because
they recognized the need.  There is a major threat to the well-being of
books and collections of all kinds in the premise that people hired to do
bench work are not entitled to support in furthering their educations in
such things as chemistry and management, and those hired as "professionals"
need not acquire bench skills because menials can be hired to do those.
Such thinking is dangerous as well as daft.
   Some kind of certification program would offer all kinds of benefits, but
what is needed is well beyond the ability of a single organization to
accomplish.   Who establishes the standards is, indeed, the large question,
but who maintains the records, offers the training, and examinations is
equally daunting.  The AIC, the Guild of Book Workers, or any other
organization is well within its rights to establish and maintain a
certification program for its own membership, and may open it to the larger
community, if it chooses to do so.  However, if such credentials become
standard requirements for employment or recompense it becomes another
question all together.
 Dorothy Africa

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