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Harvard College Library News: News from around the libraries

Grant to Honor Jan Merrill-Oldham
(courtesy of Preservation Administration Discussion Group list)

Jan Merrill-Oldham  

Jan Merrill-Oldham


June 30, 2011 – A new professional development grant named in honor of Jan Merrill-Oldham has recently been approved by the Association of Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) and Preservation and Reformatting Section (PARS) of the American Library Association (ALA) and will be awarded in 2012.

For over 30 years, Merrill-Oldham has been a recognized leader in the field of library and archives preservation. She has served on key committees within ALA, the Association of Research Libraries, the Council on Library and Information Resources, the National Information Standards Organization and many others. She has educated and mentored countless preservation librarians and conservators and her support for students and dedication to the field serves as a model to all of us. This award recognizes Merrill-Oldham's wide ranging contributions, deep commitment to the field, and her undying support of young professionals by supporting participation in an ALA conference. In September of 2010, Merrill-Oldham announced her retirement after a long and notable career.

From 1995 through 2010, Merrill-Oldham served as the Malloy-Rabinowitz Preservation Librarian at Harvard, where she was widely acknowledged as the driving force in developing Harvard's renowned preservation programs. Before coming to Harvard, Merrill-Oldham established the University of Connecticut Libraries' preservation program. She holds a bachelor's degree in English from the University of Connecticut and a master's degree in library and information science.

Merrill-Oldham's extensive and substantive contributions to the literature of preservation include four books: Preservation Program Models: A Study Project and Report, Guide to the ANSI/NISO/LIB Library Binding Standard, Guide to the Library Binding Institute Standard for Library Binding, and Conservation and Preservation of Library Materials—as well as chapters in numerous other books on preservation, conference proceedings, and articles in domestic and international journals. She has been a frequent speaker at conferences, meetings, and workshops around the world.

Each year, the Jan Merrill-Oldham Professional Development Grant will consist of $1,250 to support travel to the ALA Annual Conference for a librarian, para-professional or student new to the preservation field. The intention is to provide the opportunity to attend an ALA conference and encourage professional development through active participation at the national level. The recipient will have the chance to work with a member of the jury to identify relevant programs and interest group sessions to attend, must attend the Preservation Administration Interest Group meeting, and must attend at least one PARS discussion group meeting.

In order to make this grant a reality, the Library Binding Institute (LBI) has graciously agreed to sponsor this grant on an annual basis.  Debra Nolan, President of LBI, responded to the sponsorship request by noting that, "Jan, who has played such a significant role in library binding and with LBI, holds a very special place in our hearts."  In addition to working with LBI, Merrill-Oldham co-authored the Guide to the ANSI/NISO/LBI Library Binding Standard with Paul Parisi.

Also assisting in making this grant possible is Hollinger Metal Edge, Inc. by agreeing to sponsor the George Cunha and Susan Swartzberg Award that LBI previously sponsored.

Thank you to LBI and Metal Edge for sponsoring the awards that recognize our colleagues, to PARS Executive Council, ALCTS and the ALA Awards Committee for approving the proposal, and to the grant initiators:  Heather Caldwell, Head of Conservation Services in the Harvard College Library; Beth Doyle, Head, Conservation Services Department, Duke University Libraries; and Hilary Seo, Head, Preservation Department, Iowa State University Library.