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Preservation Interest Group

Guide to provide a forum to learn and share ideas about the various aspects of preservation.

Meeting Notes

Karen Kiorpes and Ann Kearney led a discussion on sustainability. Then Bridget Collins gave a brief presentation on sustainability efforts at the University at Albany. We finished with Questions and Answers. 

From the American Library Association's web site:  The basic definition of "sustainable" is the use and stewardship of resources today that preserves them for tomorrow. 

Biggest Challenges

  • Funding - making sure money is directed to sustainability efforts.
  • Time - Research is involved. 
  • Being proactive - A fair bit of time and effort is needed to make a sustainability plan

How to get started

  • Begin with small, simple changes, such as reducing heat. NEDCC's leaflet on climate control lists several improvements that may be easy to implement. 
  • Advertise the steps you are taking to colleagues, administrators, the public to raise awareness and gain more momentum. 

Bridget Collins presentation

  • Works at Dewey Library, the smallest and oldest library at UAlbany. Is the sustainability coordinator for the downtown campus and keeps in mind that the most sustainable building is the one that is already built. LIke Dewey Library!
  • UAlbany has sustainability goals that line up with those of the UN
  • Have aspirational goals for 2030, such as reducing carbon emissions by at least 10%
  • Libraries make up a big part of a campus footprint - long hours, run HVAC 24/7
  • Over Winter Intercession only have one of the campus libraries open. This can cause problems for library staff that work on campus, so need to think about how you will approach this. 
  • Putting signs near trash and recycling receptacles identifying which items end up in the landfill does reduce trash.
  • Looking at how other areas of the library work relates to sustainability
    • Collection Development, especially as it relates to ecological literacy
    • Creating a LibGuide on funding opportunities for sustainability efforts
    • Supporting equal access. Sharing research as much as possible through tools like Open Educational Resources

Question and Answer

  • Renovations and new builds can be a good time to look at the issue. 
  • Choosing flooring can be difficult. Often it isn't the flooring itself that is problematic, but the adhesive used to install the flooring. Some adhesives off gas chemicals that are bad for collections. 
  • Many campuses turn down the heat over winter break, but problematic for people and collections. 
    • Cooler building temperatures in winter will raise humidity. This can alleviate the problem of winter dryness, especially in certain substances like laminate, but too much humidity is problematic. If heat reduced to 55 degrees F, buildings more likely to hit dew point and get condensation. 
    • UAlbany assigned people to walk their building hourly during shutdowns to look for leaks, broken pipes, condensation. 
    • Paper material in boxes and file cabinets are fairly well protected from damage due to fluctuating temperatures. If your collection contains more delicate items like paintings, it is preferable to bring the temperature up and down slowly. 
  •  DHPSNY currently offers Foundational Planning Assistance for small cultural organizations that hold historical records and don't know where to begin in terms of organizing, preserving, and making them available to the public. This is a rolling grant that is open through summer 2022 on a first-come, first-served basis. 


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