Audio-Visuals for Training Staff and Users in the Care and Handling of Library and Archival Materials

Prepared for the Small to Mid-Sized Preservation Program Discussion Group, Preservation Issues in Stack Maintenance, ALA Midwinter 1999

Yvonne Carignan and Patricia Palmer, Co-Chairs


Page, Julie A “Videos for General Preservation Education: An Annotated Videography.”in Promoting Preservation Awareness in Libraries: A Sourcebook for Academic, Public, School, and Special Collections. eds. Jeanne M. Drewes and Julie A. Page. Westport, CN: Greenwood Press, 1997, pp. 334-337.

Schnare, Robert E. “Bibliography of Preservation Media on the Conservation of Library and Archival Material 1982-1997.”in Bibliography of Preservation Literature, 1983-1996, by Robert E. Schnare, Susan G. Swartzburg and George M. Cunha. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001, pp. 689-721.

Recommended by those who responded to a request on the PADG discussion list for favorite care and handling training media. For a full and updated database, click here.

Archive Man: Raiders of the Lost Archive. Columbus: Ohio State University Libraries and Theatre Research Institute, 1996. Written and directed by J.B. Lawton, III. Wesley Boomgaarden, Executive Producer. 1 videocassette (32 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

Focuses on training and adding awareness for students handling materials in special collections. Availability: Ohio State University Libraries Preservation Office, 106H Main Library, 1858 Neil Ave. Mall, Columbus, OH, 43210, $25 sale. Request interlibrary loan from LOEX Clearinghouse for Library Instruction, 115 Halle Library, Eastern Michigan University, Ypsilanti, MI 48197.

Books Are Not For Bashing. Providence, RI: Brown University Library Preservation Office, [1990]. 1 videocassette (10 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

Basic information for academic library users about appropriate handling of library materials. Includes humorous examples that may appeal to a secondary school audience as well. Availability: Brown University Libraries Preservation Office, Box A, Providence, RI 02914, $40 sale.

Handle with Care. Great Britain: Connexions, with help from the staff of the Bodleian Library, other Oxford College Libraries, the Public Record Office, and the Hampshire record office. Commissioned by the Society of Archivists, [1987]. 1 PAL videocassette (13 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

This program alerts staff and readers to the potential for damaging books and documents by mishandling and transporting them. It is useful for training library and archives staff to handle material safely and to instruct readers to do likewise. Includes a thirty-page information package. Availability: Connexions, 6 Tan-yr-Elgwys, Tregynon, Newtown, Powys Wales SY16 3EZ.

Handle with Care. New York: New York University, [1988]. Produced with the assistance of students at New York University’s Department of Film and Television. 1 videocassette (4 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

A young man demonstrates the wrong ways to treat books, while a satiric off-screen narrator comments on the action. Useful for promoting discussion in a class setting, from secondary to college level. The continuous loop can be used in an exhibit or lobby setting. Availability: New York University Libraries Collection Management Office, 70 Washington Square South, New York, NY 19912, $39 sale (28 min. continuous loop, $45).

Handle with Care: Library Materials. Cleveland: CWRU Educational Media Dept., [1990]. Case Western Reserve University Libraries Conservation Dept. A CWRU Libraries Preservation Education Film.1 videocassette (19 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

Explains the function of the Conservation Department and the proper way to handle and care for various library materials. Originally produced in slide format. Availability: Not for sale. Request interlibrary loan from: Case Western Reserve University Library, 11161 East Boulevard, Cleveland, OH 44106.

Handling Books in General Collections: Guidelines for Readers and Library Staff Members. Washington, DC: Library of Congress, National Preservation Program Office, 1984. Originally produced in a slide-tape version (79 slides) in 1984. Edited video transfer retaining original narration, made by University of California, San Diego, 1994.1 videocassette (12 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

Suggests handling and shelving practices that will prolong the life of books in general collections. Aimed primarily at staff but can be used for student groups and volunteers. Availability: Slide/tape show: Library of Congress Sales Office 1-202-707-5112, $60 sale; SOLINET Preservation Program, $20 rental. Videotape: Preservation Department, Geisel Library 0175N, University of California-San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92093-0175, $20 sale (, no interlibrary loan.

Handling Printed Books. 1 PAL videocassette (18 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS London: British Library National Preservation Office, [1989].

Provides a brief overview of the structure of books and a step-by-step guide to good book handling practices for staff and patrons. Availability: British Library National Preservation Office, London England WC1B 3DG.

Murder in the Stacks. New York: Center for Biomedical Communications, College of Physicians & Surgeons, Columbia University, [1987]. Columbia University Libraries Preservation Committee. 1 videocassette (15 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

Conceived and written by staff members of Columbia University's Library Preservation Department, with an award of $20,000 from the New York State Education Department's Division of Library Development. Starring Sherlock Holmes and Watson, this educational videotape is aimed at library workers and users. The two sleuths stalk the “murderer” of library books, discovering in the end that the deadly killer is, inescapably, “Everyone, Watson. The people who work in the library, and the people who use the library. All the people who come in contact with books but fail to give sufficient thought to the consequences of their actions.” Holmes and Watson explain the destructive consequences of common situations like overcrowded shelves and dog-eared pages. The detectives also discuss more unusual problems like poor paper quality in books from the Third World and some smaller presses. Availability: Columbia University Libraries Gifts and Exchanges, 104 Butler Library, New York, NY 10027, $35 sale; University Products (1-800-762-1165), $68 sale; SOLINET Preservation Program (1-800-999-8558), $20 rental.

Preservation Not! Williamsburg, VA: E. G. Swem Library, College of William and Mary, 1993.Written and presented by Ethel Hellman and Laura Turner. 1 videocassette (30 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

Instructs in proper book handling and shelving techniques. Identifies common actions that damage books. Especially useful for training library staff and student shelvers. Availability: E. G. Swem Library, College of William and Mary, Williamsburg, VA 23187.

Selling Preservation: What to Say to the Customer. Chicago: American Library Association, [1994]. 2 audio cassettes (Tape no. 454).Speakers Peggy Sullivan, Anne L. Reynolds, Cheryl Holland, and Lorraine Olley offer practical ideas for preservation education in school, public, special, and academic libraries. The speakers suggest tactics for teaching “kinder and gentler” handling of library materials as part of all types of staff and patron instruction. Recorded by Teach’em, Inc. Chicago, IL, at the 113th Annual American Library Association Conference in Miami Beach, FL, June 27, 1994. Availability: Not available for sale.

Use and Care of Books Lawrence, KS: Centron Films, 1979. Cornet Films and Video (School Citizenship Series) 1 videocassette (13 min.): sd., col.; ½" VHS.

Well-done video introducing some basic techniques of properly handling library books and textbooks for elementary school children. Culturally diverse classroom and library users. Effective use of humor with books themselves speaking in a combination of animation and live action. Best used for the lower elementary grades. Also in Spanish: Los Libros: Uso y Cuidado. Availability: Coronet Films and Video, Simon & Schuster, 4350 Equity Drive, Columbus, OH 43228 (1-800-777-8100), $29.95 sale.

Use or Abuse: The Role of Staff and Patrons in Maintaining General Library Collections Carbondale, IL: Produced by the Illinois Cooperative Conservation Program at the SUI Broadcasting Service, [1986]. 1 videocassette (24 min.); sd., col.; ½" VHS.

Describes the role of staff and patrons in maintaining library collections. Illustrates typical mishandling and the damage it causes, and describes correct practices for care and handling. Includes repair of library books. Filmed at the Carbondale Public Library. Availability: Not for sale. Request interlibrary loan from: Illinois State Library, 300 South Second Street, Springfield, IL 62701 (1-217-785-5531).

Posted: Friday, January 11, 2002