Training and Grants
The Conservation Unit has conducted education and training programs in every aspect of library preservation since the program was established at Cornell. Early in the program's development, the department conducted a seven-year series of workshops, internships, and consultancies to libraries throughout the country funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The New York State Conservation/Preservation Program has supported twelve years of preservation training for library technicians in Central New York through intern ship, as well as two series of workshops and consultancies for the South Central Regional Library Council. The staff of the Conservation Unit have been active in teaching, training, and consulting both domestically and abroad including Australia, Burma, Cambodia, Egypt, Laos, The United Kingdom, Viet Nam, and Thailand.
- The Henry Luce Foundation with the Harvard Yenching Institute and the Open Society Burma Project has supported the internship training of library staff from Southeast Asia, and a number of international interns have worked at Cornell with the support of the Fulbright Fellowship and the American Library Association Fellowship programs.
- Another educational program that has had significant international impact is the series of one-week workshops on digital imaging technology for preservation and access. This series has attracted participants from its inception in June 1995, and an average of four workshops per year were given, as well as one day workshops given overseas. It ended in 2002 and since then the attention has been focused on a number of digital preservation management workshops.
- IMLS (Institute of Museum and Library Services) has presented another opportunity by funding an internship program for Native American library staff.
- We were also awarded a grant from the Gladys Krieble Delmas Foundation for conservation of and access to the Andrew Dickson White Collection of Architectural Photographs which is housed in the Kroch Library, Division of Rare & Manuscripts Collections.
- Another important IMLS was the Political Americana Grant to digitize and rehouse artifacts from the Susan H. Douglas Political Americana Collection. In 2001, the Institute of Museum and Library Service (IMLS) awarded Cornell University Library a two-year National Leadership Grant in Preservation or Digitization of Library Materials. The grant funded the conservation, digitization and cataloging of the Cornell University Political Americana Collection from October 2001 to September 2003.
- Another important grant was received from Save America's Treasures Grant Program for the conservation project piece of the grant and the National Endowment for the Humanities for the Division of Rare and Manuscripts portion of the grant, for archival processing, and cataloging the Huntington Free Library Native American Collection. The collection was transferred to Cornell University on June 15, 2004 from its former home in the Bronx, NY. The Huntington Free Library Native American Collection is one of the largest collections of books and manuscripts of its kind.
2012 grant work and training:
- We have recently been awarded a grant from the Henry Luce Foundation to train librarians from China in preservation techniques. Cornell University Library (CUL) has entered into partnerships with the four leading academic libraries in Beijing, China — Renmin University Library, Peking University Library, Tsinghua University Library, and the China Agricultural University Library. Beginning this November 2012, Cornell will offer a program of internships in preservation practice, an important building block in the creation of a preservation infrastructure within Chinese academic libraries. Eight librarians from the partner institutions will come to Cornell to learn proper conservation techniques, shelving, care and handling, and housekeeping for collections, with a primary focus on western style bindings from the Chinese Republican era. Cornell and other western scholars often express concerns that their research is compromised by the loss of essential artifacts in many Chinese libraries. This program will establish preservation programs where none presently exist and, by doing so help assure the availability of materials that are in imminent danger of loss. At the same time, it will cement relations with people and institutions and lead to improved access to collections and other research resources for scholars throughout the world.
- We also are currently involved in the processing and rehousing Stephen Loewentheil Photograph Collection of extensive new collection of African-American photographs recently donated by Beth and Stephan Loewentheil stand to make a major impact on the study of African American visual culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The kinds of images represented in this collection - including portraits ofknown and unknown sitters, landscapes of the antebellum and postbellum south, brutal images of racial torture and domination, documents of civil rights protest, portraits of black leaders, writers and intellectuals, and images of everyday African American life - reveal volumes about black life and struggle in uncommonly rare photographs. Adding further to the uniqueness of this collection is the representation of a wide range of early and often rare photographic techniques including cased images (daguerreotypes, ambrotypes, tintypes); albumen prints, gelatin silver prints, and press prints to image the black experience. This is a digitization project co-sponsored by the Department of the History of Art and Cornell University Library's Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, and has been obtained by our overseeing department Digital Scholarship & Preservation Services in conjunction with Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences, funded by the College of Arts of Sciences and coordinated by the Cornell University Library, the emphasis of the program is to build a library of resources to support a range of scholarly activities in the College of Arts and Science and at Cornell. Many photos of items treated in this collection are available on our Conservation Treatment Collection on eCommons.
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