Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Nov. 1, 1996

Reception planned for library's new preservation room

by Steve Sullivan
The library's volumes have a new, modern place to go to get brittle pages deacidified, tape goo removed, covers stiffened and bindings repaired.

That place is the Conservation Treatment Facility, a $300,000 project on the fourth floor of the library. A reception in the new facility will be held from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, Nov. 16.

The reception, which will feature demonstrations of preservation efforts, will be preceded by a ceremony at 9:30 a.m. to honor major donors to the library. The dedication will be on the first floor.

More than half the funds for the preservation laboratory, which began operations in March, came from years of private fund raising. The remaining funds came from fines assessed library users for damage to books and materials.

The facility consolidates and expands previous facilities used for preservation efforts, and is equipped for a range of conservation procedures, from book repair to full book and paper conservation.

Iowa State's preservation effort began in the early 1980s when library officials established a small treatment facility for items in the department of special collections. In 1986, library officials completed a preservation planning self- assessment to determine the collection's assets, conditions and needs. The library was one of the first 11 in the country to test the self-assessment tool developed by the American Research Library Association.

"What we found is what just about everybody who has undergone this test has found -- that about one-third of our collection was brittle and over 75 percent of it was acidic," said Ivan Hanthorn, director of the library's preservation department. "Without appropriate preservation, the collection would slowly turn to dust."

The study indicated that 250,000 volumes of the ISU Library collection needed immediate attention, Hanthorn said. The preservations staff annually is handling 5,000 of these "immediate need" volumes, with the emphasis on those that get the most use.

"If a library is to maintain its excellence, it must have a preservation effort," Hanthorn said.

For more information about the new lab and the dedication, contact Carolyn Opsomer, 4-1263.

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