Brittle Book Strategies for the 21st Century

The Brittle Book Program landscape has changed with the growing acceptance of digital surrogates as replacements for the printed book and the increasing scarcity of microfilming programs. Different options are available to Preservation Librarians than were available ten years ago. This e-Forum will facilitate the discussion of best practices, workflow tools, and decision making criteria used by those responsible for brittle and heavily damaged books in their libraries. We also invite those considering the start of such a program to bring their questions and ideas to the conversation.

Topics will include:

  • reformatting options
  • use of decision trees and evaluation flags
  • the role of copyright in decision-making
  • the role of the Bibliographer/Selector in decision-making
  • use of digital copies already available through HathiTrust, Internet Archive, and Google Books
  • decision to withdrawal or limit use of the original
  • cataloging procedures for digital or print surrogates
  • use of the 583 field for preservation action and retention commitment notes
  • costs and benefits associated with reformatting

Who Should Attend

Anyone with an interest in the topic can benefit from this session and is welcome to participate.


Kara McClurken is the Head of Preservation Services at the University of Virginia Libraries. She worked as an Archivist and Preservation Specialist at Smith College before working at SOLINET as a Preservation Services Librarian from 2006–2009. Kara recently conducted a survey of how various institutions address the problem of heavily damaged materials in their collections and presented the results at the ALA 2012 Annual Conference. She currently serves on the Steering Committee of the Preservation Section of the Society of American Archivists.

Kimberly Peach worked in the Binding and Collections Care Department at the Library of Congress before being selected for the IMLS Preservation Administration Fellowship at Yale University Library in 2010. From there she joined George Blood Audio and Video as Registrar and then went on to work on the American Archive Inventory Project at WXPN Public Radio. Kim has just completed two years of services as co-chair for the PARS Program, Planning, and Publications Committee.


How to Register

You must register to subscribe to or access an electronic discussion list on ALA's Mailing List Service. Find instructions for subscribing online. Once you have registered for one e-forum, you do not need to register again, unless you choose to leave the list.

Tech Requirements

Internet connection with an email address.




If you have trouble subscribing to the discussion list or have questions, please contact Or, contact e-Forum Coordinator, Kristin Martin,