Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Changes at the Library and Archives

January has been a month of great change and forward movement here at the library and archives. We've been furthering our progress on our proposed improvements that were published on the wiki last semester. Li Chen, Systems Librarian, has overseen the redesign and expansion of our reference area computer workstations. The library as a whole submitted a long-range plan for improvements to our building, including fixing the library dome pictured above. Here in the archives, we collected proposals from exhibit designers regarding the remounting of the Sellars Tool Collection.

The library also welcomed Brenton Stewart, our new cataloger, onto the staff. Brenton will not only be cataloging our general library collection, but he'll also be working with the archives and special collections. Already he's helped us identify our main LC subject headings, and been part of the CS project team that's organizing our web portal that will open in the fall. Project organization and co-ordination occupied most of this month; starting next week, more pictures of the collection will be offered as before.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

January Progress Report on the Architectural Drawing Collection

A little over thirty work days have passed in the academic calendar since the archives began to rehouse and arrange our room full of architectural drawings. As of Monday, over 700 pieces from this collection had been interleaved with archival tissue, recorded with a location ID, and rehoused into flat file drawers or drop-front boxes.

The next step in providing access to this collection begins later this month. The archives will consult with our School of Architecture, Civil Engineering Technology, and Construction to find out how faculty would best like to see the collection described for access. We'll take into account the preservation of the drawings and how students may best benefit from this resource in the future. Then the library's new Cataloger, Brenton Stewart, will work with the archives on describing the collection. Finally, a web portal will be built around the catalog information.

If this sounds like a lot of work, you're right! Our goal is to have a little over a quarter of the prints cataloged for SPSU access by Fall semester. While Brenton works on the cataloging metadata associated with this project, here at the archive we'll still be rehousing our thousands of drawings, which include all kinds of ephemera and other sorts of mixed media.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Archive projects for the future - looking to 2006 and beyond

In 1995 the Alan and Louise Sellars Collection of antique tools was removed from permanent display at the Lawrence V. Johnson Library. The eighteen panels designed by Mr. Sellars were removed from display due to damage incurred over the years by reactions between the tools themselves and the original epoxy-and-wire mounts holding the tools to their pegboard bases. At that time, SPSU invested in high-quality conservation treatment for the collection. Since 1996, the tools have rested in polyethylene wrapping out of view.

Now that the Archives and Special Collections is being developed as a department within the library, the tools have once again become a focus of attention. In 2006 we'll be making decisions regarding putting some of the tools on permanent display again, this time in museum-quality cases that will prevent further damage to the collection. While the Archives has some funds available for this project, we'll most likely be able to finance remounting only one or two displays a year. Parties interested in the Alan and Louise Sellars collection of antique tools may wish to contact the Archivist.

Other plans for the Library and Archives can be found on the SPSU wiki. Alumni, Faculty, Students, and Staff should feel free to log onto the wiki to discuss the proposed improvements to the Lawrence V. Johnson Library building. The Archives and Special Collections also welcomes visitors and calls - the items here are for educational purposes, and belong to everyone in the SPSU community. In the coming year we'll need lots of input on how the collections may be arranged for use, and which collections are of a priority nature to the SPSU community.