George Mason Libraries Circulation Preservation Training
What does it mean to Preserve? From the American Heritage Dictionary To maintain in safety from injury, peril, or harm; protect. To keep in perfect or unaltered condition; maintain unchanged.
Why Preserve Library Materials? Protection and longevity of intellectual resources. Once lost, many materials are impossible to replace. Protection and longevity of financial resources. Mason library materials are estimated at $100,000,000. If we spend the money to acquire materials, we should spend the money to preserve them.
Why Start a Preservation Plan Now? Mason aspires to be a major research institution, and needs a preservation plan to be recognized in many library organizations, such as the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Because we should have started one in 1980…
Immediate Preservation Goals (non-circulation) Perform a stacks survey to gauge the physical condition of the collection. Begin monitoring the temperature and humidity of the stacks. Coordinate with maintenance to normalize them by wing and floor. Create a small book repair shop in the Fenwick Library Acquisitions Department.
Immediate Preservation Goals (circulation, overview) Monitor and record the condition of damaged books during check-in and check-out. Begin tracking patrons who damage material. Train students and staff proper handling, shelving and packing techniques. Report any unusual environmental conditions in the stacks. Inform or educate patrons about basic preservation policy.
Check-In and Check-Out (things to look for, how to identify damage) Loose Pages, Torn Spine, Pet Damage (minor to heavy) Brittle or Deteriorating Paper (minor to heavy) Mold or Water Damage (minor to heavy) Bent Pages, Dog Ears, Heavy Paperclips (usually minor) Graffiti, Marginalia, or Highlights (usually minor) Post-it notes, Bookmarks (not usually considered damage)
Issuing Damaged Material Fill out a Damage Assessment bookmark. Mark the item as Damaged in Voyager. If the book can be checked-out, notify the patron that they are not responsible for the damage. Issue the item and ask that they return the book with the damage assessment bookmark. If the book cannot be checked-out, notify the patron, and place the item in the Hospital Bin (or send to Fenwick Library). Remove folds, dog ears, post-it notes, paperclips, and extra bookmarks.
Receiving Damaged Material (the book) Fill out a Damage Assessment bookmark. Mark the item as Damaged in Voyager. If the item cannot circulate, place the item with the bookmark in the Hospital Bin (or send to Fenwick Library). If the item can circulate, save the assessment bookmark for statistical purposes, and return the item to the sorting shelves. Remove folds, dog ears, post-it notes, paper clips and extra bookmarks.
Receiving Damaged Material (the patron) If the patron is present, notify and question them about the damage. If the damage is minor and the patron is clearly at fault, add a general note to their circulation account in the following format: Patron damaged book “ ” ( ).. For example: Patron damaged book “The Making of the Dark Crystal” ( ). Two torn pages visible, many dog-ears. JWW 5/9/7
Receiving Damaged Material (the patron, continued) If the patron is not present or you strongly suspect the patron is not being honest, use careful discretion is adding notes. If a patron heavily damages a book, talk to the patron, add a general note to their account, contact acquisitions and charge the patron the appropriate replacement and processing fees (usually $57 replacement and $30 processing). If the damage looks to be a factor of age or the patron is not at fault, do not add a note. The eventual goal is to begin charging patrons a $10 damage or rebinding fee for damaging books. The notes will act similar to the Claims Return system and allow us to give an exception before charging.
Proper Handling and Shelving (for students and staff) Do not pull the book out by the end-cap. Instead, slide the surrounding books back, and pull the volume out from the center. Do not overcrowd books on the shelves. Make sure bookends support the last book well. If books cannot sit upright, place them on their spine (e.g. art books, folios). Do not force the covers back (e.g. copying). Avoid using sticky notes and paperclips in books whenever possible. Only use bookmarks temporarily.
Packing Books should be packed like they are shelved, on their backs or upright. Books should not be compressed or tightly packed into crates. Extra space should be filled with cushion or foam. Mason may invest in additional padding for or support for in-transit crates.
Additional Student Training Teach old and new student hires the basics of reviewing for damage during check-in and check-out. Instruct students workers to refer damaged material and their respective patrons to a staff member, who can properly assess and resolve the situation.
Stacks Conditions Identify, report, and follow-up on environmental or patron problems in the stacks. For example… pests, water leaks, mold, spilt drinks, food on books, temperature extremes, high humidity, especially dirty areas, fire, flooding, toxic ooze, zombie invasion, etc.
Patron Education (things we can do now) Demonstrate and communicate proper book handling to patrons. Explain new damaged book policy and tracking to patrons when appropriate. Encourage patrons to not eat or drink while using library material. Distribute Preservation Bookmarks
Patron Education (the near future) Preservation Exhibits and Posters Stacks Signs Campus Publicity (e.g. Broadside) Integration of handling and preservation policies into new patron library tours.
Resources Association of Research Libraries (ARL) Preservation Site: SoliNET Preservation Site: Mason Libraries Preservation Group Report (use intranet user / pass): Library SMT Response to the Group Report (use intranet user / pass):