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Staff Activities

Jody Beenk, conservation technician for the Harvard College Library, received the 2001 Carolyn Horton Award of the American Institute for Conservation for professional development in book and paper conservation. Beenk used her grant to attend the "Workshop on Chinese Traditional Bookbinding and its Conservation," held this past March in Oxford, England. The course was led by Christopher Clarkson, conservation consultant to the Bodleian Library, and sponsored by the Institute for Paper Conservation. As part of the program, participants viewed a wide range of book structures in the Bodleian Library, which houses one of the finest collections of Chinese bindings in Europe, created historical models of these structures, and discussed conservation issues specific to Asian materials in Western collections. The remainder of the workshop was devoted to a series of lectures on the cultural context of historical developments in the Chinese book. Beenk received her bachelor's degree in Asian Languages and Literature and a master's in Chinese Linguistics from the University of Iowa. She studied conservation at Iowa and currently treats materials from the Harvard-Yenching Library in the Collections Conservation Laboratory in Widener Library.

Sarah R. Demb, museum archivist for the Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, traveled to Copan, Honduras, for a week this May to consult with the archaeological site's research center (CRIA) staff on their library and archives. Harvard's Peabody Museum and Department of Anthropology have excavated Copan in conjunction with the Honduran government for over 100 years. Research associate Barbara Fash directed the project and the Peabody Museum contributed Demb's time as part of the grant-funded initiative. CRIA's library and archives contain many unique field reports from visiting archaeologists, center records, and publications on Copan from around the world.

The ACRL New England Chapter Preservation and Conservation Interest Group held its spring meeting on April 20, 2001, at Yale University. Program co-chairs Beth Doyle, conservator for special projects in the Weissman Preservation Center, and Heather Caldwell, former conservation intern in the Harvard College Library and now preservation services librarian at MIT, organized the event. The topic of the day was mold in the library and included discussions of health and safety issues, in-house remediation, and working with a vendor to salvage affected material. Many Harvard library staff members attended the program including Karen Bailey, rare book librarian in Baker Library, Kate Becker, conservation technician in Cabot Science Library, and Jan Voogd, collection management librarian in Littauer Library. Weissman Preservation Center staff members in attendance included Priscilla Anderson, conservator, Jane Hedberg, preservation program officer, and Pam Spitzmueller, the James W. Needham Chief Conservator for Special Collections in the Harvard University Library. Many staff members of Collections Conservation Services in Widener Library also attended including Ethel Hellman, collections conservator for Widener Library, Jay Hurd, preservation review librarian, and conservation technicians Susi Barbarossa, Jodie Beenk, Ann O'Rahilly, and John O'Regan.

Ethel Hellman, collections conservator for Widener Library, was one of 15 library and museum professionals selected to attend a workshop on emergency response for cultural institutions, held in Dallas April 3-5, 2001. This workshop, organized by the American Institute for Conservation and supported by a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, was the first of a series of five regional three-day workshops to be presented in North America. The goal of this 18-month project is to create an initial group of 85 trained responders in five regional groups: Northeast, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, and West Coast. This initial group will continue to be enlarged by subsequent local and regional workshops addressing emergency response needs in cultural institutions. The workshop curriculum was developed by AIC in cooperation with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the Getty Conservation Institute, and Heritage Preservation. While touching on the topics of emergency preparedness and salvage techniques for a variety of cultural materials, the main focus of the workshop was effective response during the first 48 hours following an emergency. Participants received information and took part in activities that included team building and group dynamics, risk assessment and planning, health and safety, and emergency supplies, equipment, and resources. The workshop was hosted by AMIGOS Library Services, a training and educational center for the Southwest. Hellman is a co-chair of the Library Collections Emergency Team, which offers 24-hour assistance to Harvard libraries in case of disasters. Disaster preparedness and training will be a priority for the HCL Collections Conservation Laboratory and the Weissman Preservation Center during the coming year.

Ruth Hill, oral history coordinator for the Schlesinger Library, received the 2001 David Avellone Award for superior technical accomplishment at the annual meeting of the corporation of Cambridge Community Television. Hill produces Dr. Hugh ("Brother Blue") Hill's cable program.

Three staff members from Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library have recently received advanced degrees. Suzan Hirsch, library assistant, received a master's degree from the Simmons Graduate School of Library and Information Science. Paula Kaczor, cataloger for the Schlesinger's Photo Access Project, received master's degrees in both library science and in history through the Simmons dual degree program in archives management. James Capabianco, library assistant in technical services, received a master's from the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

The May 2001 edition of Smithsonian Magazine includes "The King of the Lobby," an article on Gilded Age lobbyist Samuel Ward by Kathryn Allamong Jacob, the Johanna-Maria Fraenkel Curator of Manuscripts in Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library.

Debbie Kelley-Milburn is leaving her position as reference librarian in Widener Library's Research Services Department to assume the role of head of public services at the Schlesinger Library as of July 1. She began her Harvard career at Houghton Library, progressing from library assistant to reference librarian between 1972 and 1980. Kelley-Milburn began working in Widener Reference Services as a casual in 1973 and became a regular staff member in 1985. She was instrumental in the creation of the Research and Bibliographic Services unit.

Sylvia McDowell's profile of the late Boston activist Amanda Houston was published in the Winter 2001 edition of "Proclaim Her," the newsletter of the Boston Women's Heritage Trail. McDowell is the assistant to the director of Radcliffe's Schlesinger Library.

Nancy Schrock, chief collections conservator for Harvard College Library, is the co-author of "Caring for Your Books," recently published by the American Institute for Conservation as part of its series of conservation brochures for the general public. Schrock is treasurer of AIC and has served on its board of directors since 1998.

Barbara Graham, associate director of the University Library for administration and programs, reports a note from Eugene Wu, former head of the Harvard-Yenching Library. Wu received an award from the Chinese American Librarians Association, an affiliate of ALA, for distinguished service. The award plaque reads "Chinese American Librarians Association presents the 2001 CALA Distinguished Service Award to Eugene Wu on this 17th day of June 2001 in San Francisco in recognition of his extraordinary achievements and leadership and his special contributions to the advancement of Chinese American Librarianship."

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Last modified on Thursday, April 18, 2002.