Sobering Statistics Concerning Book Conservation

Sobering statistics indeed, via Jeff Peachey’s fantastic blog.

jeff peachey

There are some sobering statistics in The FY2014 Preservation Statistics Report, by Annie Peterson, Holly Robertson, and Nick Szydlowski.  Eighty-seven cultural institutions responded; primarily academic libraries. Although the authors caution about extrapolating the data since the respondents were self-selecting, I find it difficult not to view the results as roughly indicative of general trends in libraries. The most striking finding is the steady decline in the money spent for bound volumes.

Screen Shot 2015-08-17 at 8.58.13 AM Source:http://www.ala.org/alcts/sites/ala.org.alcts/files/content/resources/preserv/presstats/FY2014/FY2014PreservationStatistics.pdf Page 10.

The treatments reported tend to be quite utilitarian, more aimed at circulating rather than special collections. For example, a Level 1 treatment takes less than 15 minutes, a Level 2 between 15 and 120 minutes, a level 3 more than 120 minutes. Most conservation treatments for special collections materials take much longer than 120 minutes.

The authors report that “from 2000 to 2014, total conservation treatment of bound volumes declined faster than commercial binding; treatment…

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About Saira

Saira is a newly fledged book conservator currently based in New York.
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