Harvard College Library

Cline, Merrill-Oldham Papers Featured in Library of Congress' To Preserve and Protect

December 16, 2002 -- Nancy M. Cline, Roy E. Larsen Librarian of Harvard College, and Jan Merrill-Oldham, Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian in the University and College are featured in To Preserve and Protect: The Strategic Stewardship of Cultural Resources, recently published by the Library of Congress. The 300-page volume contains papers by 22 recognized scholars, experts, and professionals in the fields of preservation and security who participated in a Library of Congress symposium in October 2000 in conjunction with the Library’s bicentennial celebration.

To Preserve and Protect: The Strategic Stewardship of Cultural Resources, Library of Congress, 2002
Cline’s paper, Stewardship: The Janus Factor, which opens the book, explores the connection between physical security and preservation of collections. She notes, "The challenge is to balance conflicting goals, to make materials as open and accessible as possible and at the same time to ensure that they will last for future generations." Cline uses the metaphor of Janus, the god in Roman mythology represented by two faces, and draws the parallel to stewardship, which looks back upon all that has been gleaned from experience over generations, and which looks forward, anticipating, planning, preparing, and thinking strategically.

Jan Merrill-Oldham’s paper, entitled, Taking Care: An Informed Approach to Library Preservation, considers the daunting challenges of building and sustaining a preservation program in today’s volatile information arena and explores issues, obstacles, and avenues to success in strategically planning for the long-term preservation of collections.

Other topics addressed in the book include: developing strategies for a security program; building a national preservation program; coping with theft, vandalism, deterioration, and bad press; promoting programs, meeting funding demands, and measuring effectiveness of preservation and security programs; and challenges posed by electronic information and digitization; and innovations in preservation and security.

In the introduction of To Preserve and Protect, James H. Billington, the Librarian of Congress, states, "We hope that these essays might shed light on how to build bridges between preservation and security in our various institutions, and help all of us join hands in working cooperatively to preserve the record of human knowledge and creativity."

Paul Bellenoit, Director of Facilities Management for the Harvard College Library also attended the symposium as a representative of library security, along with Richard Mederos of Harvard University’s Criminal Investigation Division, who spoke on collections theft investigations. Presented in affiliation with the Association of Research Libraries and the Federal Library Information Center Committee, the symposium provided directors and administrators of libraries, museums, and archives the opportunity to engage in dialogue on critical issues pertaining to the preservation and security of collections.

 


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