I wrote a new assessment for preservation exercise for my Preservation Management class this weekend, and played with it this morning for the first time.  It was a tough exercise, but so much fun, and the class had a great time figuring out the puzzle of preservation priorities and actions.  I liked it so much that I'd share it here.


Selection for Preservation Action Exercise


You are the librarian/archivist at a small town library with a mission to collect materials documenting the history of your town.  Decide on preservation priorities for the following collections or artifacts.  What action might you take on each item?


·      A heavily used collection of local history books that includes primarily books in print along with several books that are unavailable for purchase.

·      A box of brittle newspaper clippings documenting the history of a now-defunct theater in your town.

·      Approximately 5000 negatives from a local photo studio dating from 1920-1940.  There is an odor when you open the boxes.  This collection is unpublicized, but might have research value if it were better known.

·      A quilt from the 1850s that is faded and has extensive damage to the fabric.  The exact provenance is unknown, however the donor says that she was told it might have been made by a prominent local resident.

·      A selection of letters written during the Civil War, including several that describe the Battle of Gettysburg.  They are written in iron gall ink on yellowing paper.

·      Reel-to-reel audiotapes of recitals from a nearby college’s music department in the 1960s.  You do not own a reel-to-reel player.

·      20 scrapbooks documenting the annual activities of your town’s garden club from the 1950s to the 1970s.  Most of the scrapbooks are made by gluing photos and ephemera to paper, however the last two are in magnetic albums.  Some of the adhesive is failing in the older albums.

·      A shelf of 19th century publisher’s cloth bindings that were donated by the grandchild of the owner.  These are in poor condition and contain no valuable titles, however the owner was the wife of a mayor of your town.

·      200 genealogy titles relating to your county and state, including many self-published family histories.  Many are comb bound, and a few are housed in three ring binders.

·      A very valuable early edition of Tess of the d’Urbervilles in good condition.

·      A complete run of yearbooks from your local high school, starting from its founding in 1940.  The early yearbooks are in extremely poor condition.

·      Videotapes of town council meetings from 1980-2000.  There are approximately 1000 tapes in VHS and Betacam formats.

·      A collection of commercially produced stereo cards with a stereoscope in poor condition.

·      3 daguerreotypes of ancestors of prominent early citizens in your community.  The images are in good condition, but the leather cases are quite deteriorated.

·      100 volumes of historic land records that have been transferred to your archives from the city clerk’s office.  They are in large refillable ledger books with leather trim.  The leather trim is deteriorating, and the pages are tearing out of the books in some cases.