Make Preservation Week Last All Year

By Alice Platt

Preservation Week 2012 was celebrated at libraries throughout the country during the week of April 22–28. Events were held online and in person to help promote the importance of preservation, and teach all of us about how to better preserve our cultural treasures.

ALCTS-sponsored events included the free ALCTS webinars Taking Care: Family Textiles, held April 24 and Preserving Your Personal Digital Photographs, held April 26. These and many other preservation-related  webinars are archived and available for free from the ALCTS web site. Topics include disaster response, protecting and saving family treasures, and book repair basics. These can be viewed immediately, helping Preservation Week extend far beyond one week in April.

Other events held around the country included several lectures at the Library of Congress; a presentation and panel discussion in New York City showcasing the Activist Archivists' efforts to help archive the Occupy Wall Street movement; and a 16mm film preservation event at the University of Washington Libraries. John Vallier, Head-Distributed Media at UW, explained that the grant-funded Films from the Vaults preservation project is an opportunity not only to digitize and preserve rare or unique films, but also screen them and interest students in archival preservation, particularly of audio-visual materials. "Some actually stopped to talk to us!" John noted of the undergraduates who walked by during the Preservation Week screening.

Preservation Week Chair Julia Mosbo noted, “This is the third year that we have had Preservation Week and each year we see tremendous growth with the amount and types of events that are showcased at various institutions.  Preservation Week has become an important part of program planning at libraries and we hope to continue to facilitate that growth though reaching out to newer audiences and all age groups.”

Last January, Steve Berry, author of “The Jefferson Key,” founder of  History Matters and the National Spokesman for Preservation Week 2012, talked briefly about how he archives his scrapbooks and publicity for his work at home during his keynote address at Midwinter 2012 in Dallas. But a rumbling gasp arose from the crowd when he admitted he throws away his notebooks containing scribbled ideas and notes while writing a book; he protested that they wouldn't make any sense to anyone. Nevertheless, after that library crowd reaction, perhaps the next stack of notebooks might survive the trash bin. Score a point for Preservation Week. May it last all year.