On Monday, Christine McCarthy and Karen Jutzi joined Tara Kennedy (YUL Preservation Services), and the Beinecke Library’s Rebecca Hatcher and Eve Neiger to present the first session of a two-part workshop on care and handling of special collections in public reading rooms. While some information may have been review for those in attendance, this was an opportunity to make sure that everyone is on the same page when it comes to turning pages in the reading room. The staff who attend the session asked great questions and made excellent suggestions based on their experience.
They say that timing is everything. The workshops were planned to following closely on the heels of the reopening of the Beinecke Library’s reading room after 18 months of renovation to the building.
The workshop session on Monday was the result of several months of planning and collaboration between preservation, conservation, access services, and technical services staff. A survey was sent to all access services and security staff to better understand their comfort levels with various practices and to identify any knowledge or training gaps. Balancing reader needs and collection preservation is challenging. Staff worry about the time implications of good handling habits and readers’ service expectations. Having the management team from Access Services at the planning table from the start made it easier to turn ideal practice into implementable practice. And based on the feedback from staff who participated, there is a strong commitment to both the use of collections and their protection.