Dewey Decibel: Libraries Respond to COVID-19

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Libraries Respond to COVID-19

April 21, 2020

First, American Libraries Senior Editor and Dewey Decibel host Phil Morehart speaks with Felton Thomas Jr., executive director and CEO of Cleveland Public Library, about the library’s use of 3D printers to make personal protective equipment for emergency workers. Then Morehart talks with Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, about … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Libraries Respond to COVID-19


Personal protective equipment donated by University of Maryland's Preservation Department

University Libraries Help Hospitals with PPE Donations

March 27, 2020

Archivists and conservators from university libraries across the country have been pitching in to help bridge the supply gap, donating their supplies of the PPE typically used in the restoration of materials. Through networking with local health care providers, libraries are getting lifesaving supplies where they’re needed most. Eric Alstrom, head of conservation and preservation … Continue reading University Libraries Help Hospitals with PPE Donations


COVID-19 materials cleaning

How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic

March 27, 2020

It’s an unprecedented situation. Conservators, who are experienced in diagnosing and repairing collection damage, say that historical information on sanitizing library materials is lacking. Besides a bit of anecdotal evidence from a 2019 Smithsonian Magazine article, there’s very little historical data available, says Evan Knight, preservation specialist at the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners: “There’s … Continue reading How to Sanitize Collections in a Pandemic


Dispatches, by Erin Baucom

Preservation as Risk Management

September 3, 2019

The best type of program is an interlocking system of policies, workflows, technical solutions, and efforts meant to keep digital objects usable in the long term. Digital objects are made up of bitstreams—sequences of 1s and 0s that require specific software and hardware environments to remain accessible. Some are born digital (those materials with no … Continue reading Preservation as Risk Management


Preservation Showdown: Environmental Edition

June 27, 2018

The debate was moderated by Kara McClurken, director of preservation services at the University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville. The panel took place as part of the American Library Association (ALA) Annual Conference and Exhibition in New Orleans Monday, June 25. As the debate opened, McClurken explained that some of the debaters had been asked to defend … Continue reading Preservation Showdown: Environmental Edition


Dewey Decibel Episode 23: Saving Lost Cinema

Dewey Decibel Podcast: Saving Lost Cinema

March 5, 2018

First, Steve Zalusky, manager of communications for the American Library Association’s Public Awareness Office, reports from the Mostly Lost film workshop at the Library of Congress’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. Next, Phil Morehart, Dewey Decibel host and American Libraries associate editor, talks to AJ Lawrence, media conservation and digitization assistant at the … Continue reading Dewey Decibel Podcast: Saving Lost Cinema


What Is Access without Equity?

March 1, 2018

For community-based or other participatory archive models, digital technologies offer a way to meaningfully engage with materials. Yet what good is a digital archive if the community does not have internet available? How can an individual fully participate in using or shaping digital heritage resources if they do not have the computer skills, or even … Continue reading What Is Access without Equity?


To Preserve and Protect

March 1, 2018

As we observe Preservation Week (April 22–26), keep in mind that even our youngest students are eager to hear about cultural and historic preservation from the people most invested in it. Our learners realize that everybody has a story and that these stories make a difference. My own preservation journey with 3rd graders at Pilot … Continue reading To Preserve and Protect



During the tour of the Library of Congress Culpeper facility, guests learn about nitrate film decomposition from Nitrate Film Vault Manager George Willeman (center). Photo: Steve Zalusky

Crowdsourcing Cinema

June 22, 2017

Nearly 200 people had gathered for a labor of love and a test of their research skills and knowledge of film history June 15–17 at the Library of Congress’s (LC) Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Virginia. The 45-acre campus is where LC acquires, preserves, and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive … Continue reading Crowdsourcing Cinema


Mary Miller assists with the rehousing of the Orange County (Fla.) Regional History Center media collection during the inaugural Preservation in Action (PIA) service project at the 2016 ALA Annual Conference. She is helping to preserve a film about the underwater "mermaid" performers at Weeki Wachee Springs, Florida. Photo: Jessica Bitely

Saving At-Risk Audiovisual Materials

March 1, 2017

Libraries have been collecting audio and video for many years, and audiovisual librarians well know the value of voices and moving images. Within the profession itself, Technical Services Manager A. Arro Smith—author of Capturing Our Stories: An Oral History of Librarianship in Transition (ALA Editions, 2017)—has been chronicling the oral histories of retired librarians on … Continue reading Saving At-Risk Audiovisual Materials


Crowley Imaging Services’s new 100MP digital back camera system

Saving Your Media

March 1, 2017

Document capture at Crowley Imaging Services The Crowley Company has been providing micrographic and digital archiving services for more than 30 years. Crowley Imaging Services uses equipment from its own manufacturing arm and other vendors to offer services to libraries and archives that don’t have an in-house digitization department. The company recently purchased two Phase One IQ3 … Continue reading Saving Your Media