Sustainable Preservation Programs

Sustainability is a term very much “en vogue,” much like “archival” is in marketing supplies. It can mean different things in different contexts. For purposes of this e-forum, we are using it to discuss the sustainability of preservation activities in the overall context of libraries—administrative, staffing, funding, the changing role of library as place, and selection and use/reuse of materials and other workflows.

Despite the clear need for preservation, its programmatic role within the organization context is increasingly in a state of flux as libraries reevaluate their organizational structures and with preservation finding itself in what might be considered unlikely reporting lines. Who will lead these programs, advocate for the continued need for preservation, and demonstrate that the preservation ethos has a role to play away from book and environment? What about improving how we select and manage all the materials we use in preservation and conservation? Below some questions to start the conservation:

  • How do you perceive the role of preservation within your institutions, and what changes have you observed?
  • How have these changes impacted your work, and how do you see your role changing in the near term (5 years)?
  • How are we recycling and reuse lab materials, and what workflow changes may go with this.

The discussion took place Wednesday, April 22 and Thursday, April 23, 2015.

Read the e-Forum summary and for more information, read the archive of messages starting here.

What Is an e-Forum?

An ALCTS e-forum provides an opportunity for librarians to discuss matters of interest, led by a moderator, through the e-forum discussion list. The e-forum discussion list works like an email listserv: register your email address with the list, and then you will receive messages and communicate with other participants through an email discussion. Most e-forums last two to three days. Registration is necessary to participate, but it's free. See a list of upcoming e-forums.

Please join us for an e-forum discussion. It’s free and open to everyone!

Learning Outcomes

Attendees will learn about sustainability of preservation activities in the overall context of libraries—administrative, staffing, funding, the changing role of library as place, and selection and use/reuse of materials and other workflows.

Who Should Attend

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


Whitney Baker is Head of Conservation Services at the University of Kansas Libraries, where she has worked since 2002. Since 2004 she has taught the preventive conservation class in the graduate program in Museum Studies at the University of Kansas. She holds an MLIS and Advanced Certificate in Library and Archives Conservation from the University of Texas at Austin. She previously worked as Conservation Librarian at the University of Kentucky and served her third-year internship at the Library of Congress, where she also worked as a conservation contractor.

Melissa Tedone recently joined Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library as Library Conservator and Affiliated Faculty in the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. She also serves as Co-Chair/Chair Elect of AIC’s Sustainability Committee. Melissa holds an MSIS and Certificate of Advanced Study in Conservation of Library and Archival Materials from the University of Texas at Austin, and a PhD in Slavic Studies from Yale University.  She has worked for the Connecticut-based sculpture conservation firm ConservArt LLC, and in the book and paper conservation labs of the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Lewis Walpole Library, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Iowa State University Library.

Peter D. Verheyen is past Head of Preservation and Conservation at Syracuse University Libraries. After beginning as a work‐study in preservation under John Dean at Johns Hopkins, he studied binding and conservation in Germany and Switzerland to become a rare book conservator working in private practice and the research library preservation programs at Yale and Cornell. He established the conservation lab at Syracuse in 1995, has presented and written on a variety of preservation topics, and is co-instructor of ALA/ALCTS’ Fundamentals of Preservation online course.




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