2015 Cunha-Swartzburg Award to Laura Word

For Immediate Release
Fri, 03/06/2015


Christine McConnell

Communication Specialist


312 280 5037


CHICAGO — The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services’ (ALCTS) Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) Jury for the George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg Preservation Award has selected Laura Word as the 2015 recipient. The award, sponsored by Hollinger Metal Edge, will be presented in a ceremony during the 2015 American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exposition in San Francisco. The award includes a citation and $1,250.

Ms. Word holds a BA in Classical Studies from Ohio Wesleyan University and an MA in Conservation from George Washington University. She worked as an objects conservator in the early 1980s at Upper Midwest Conservation Association (Minneapolis) and in 1985 moved to the Pacific Regional Conservation Center at the Bishop Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii, where she was first the acting chair then the chair.

In 1991, Ms. Word went to the Division of Preservation and Access at the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) as the Senior Program Officer. At NEH, she was one of the founding coordinators of the NEH Preservation Assistance Grants for Smaller Institutions and the Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections Grant. These grants have funded a range of projects including the development of regional preservation workshops, the purchase of preservation supplies and furniture, and the development and installation of equipment that supports sustainable preservation environments. For many years Ms. Word was also the division’s Education and Training Program coordinator. In that capacity she helped numerous museums, libraries, and archives to learn to effectively steward their collections.

From supporting the creation and submission of well-written grant applications to her efforts at outreach and education, Ms. Word’s work has created ripple effects throughout the preservation community. Her work with organizations helped to build the field of collaborative preservation in the United States, and has helped institutions of all sizes and types recognize the importance of preserving their collections. Her leadership qualities are recognized by preservation professionals across institutional types, from small museums to large libraries.

Established in 2007, the award honors the memory of George Cunha and Susan Swartzburg, early leaders in cooperative preservation programming and strong advocates for collaboration in the field of preservation. The award acknowledges and supports cooperative preservation projects and rewards individuals or groups that foster collaboration for preservation goals.

ALCTS is the national association for information providers who work in collections and technical services, such as acquisitions, cataloging, metadata, collection management, preservation, electronic and continuing resources. ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association.