The Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County was awarded a $81,012 Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) grant from the State Library of Ohio to establish a joint Conservation Lab with the University of Cincinnati Libraries for the preservation and protection of rare and heavily used materials.
UC Libraries and the Public Library will jointly manage and equip the expanded Conservation Lab housed in UC’s Walter C. Langsam Library. It will be staffed with well-trained individuals from both institutions. The joint model will allow the organizations to pool their resources to expand their capacity to conserve materials, to provide staff training, and to seek innovative collaborative solutions to address their preservation needs.
“By partnering to conserve our rare holdings and heavily used collections, both institutions are ensuring future access to our materials in the most cost-effective and innovative way,” said Kimber L. Fender, executive director of the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County.
In addition to preserving materials from the collections of the Public Library and UC Libraries, the Conservation Lab will provide consultation and conservation treatments to other organizations that lack the ability to operate their own lab. This outreach will support the conservation needs of other cultural heritage institutions in Ohio, thus helping to guarantee that their collections will also remain available for the future.
“The Conservation Lab offers a creative and collaborative solution to the conservation challenges faced by the Public Library and UC Libraries to preserve our valuable print collections,” said Victoria A. Montavon, dean and university librarian, University of Cincinnati Libraries.
The collaboration will begin this month with Public Library staff training in general collection maintenance and repair techniques at UC Libraries. Concurrently, the Public Library will hire a full-time conservator to manage the treatment and repair of unique and rare book holdings and to train staff on advanced repair techniques. Plans are to have the joint lab facility open and fully operational by January 2012.
The LSTA program is funded through the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and administered through the State Library of Ohio.