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Thursday, June 20 • 4:00pm - 5:30pm
Papers on Fire and Earth

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Fuel for Archival Advocacy--A public library responds to wildfires (Joanna Kolosov, Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library)

In 2017 Californians, accustomed to battling drought, became intimately acquainted with a new climate norm—wildfires. Though fires took a similar path through Sonoma County in 1964, development ballooned in the intervening years, causing record devastation and staggering economic losses this time around. The History & Genealogy Library, a special collections and archives of the Sonoma County Library system located in Santa Rosa, was right in the thick of it. The fires exposed weaknesses in the library’s infrastructure and communication channels and posed a direct threat to its off-site storage of county government records. This presentation will outline the steps staff have taken to raise awareness of the public library’s special collections, provide disaster preparedness training and tools, develop a community response network of cultural heritage organizations, revitalize collection development and preservation policies and procedures, and document community experiences in the aftermath of the fires. The talk will also address larger conversations happening around fire ecology and the use of fire as a natural resource as well as public libraries offering personal digital archiving services to empower people to preserve and protect their own treasures.

Shake, Rattle, & Roll : Earthquake Preparedness for Libraries  (Allie McCormack and Alison Elbrader, University of Utah)

The University of Utah sits directly on a fault line, and seismologists suggest that Salt Lake City is overdue for a major earthquake. This presentation will discuss what the Marriott Library has done to mitigate this threat so far, future actions that could help safeguard collections, and how other libraries might implement these ideas. The first portion will provide examples of actions the library has taken to protect the building and its collections in the event of an earthquake and subsequent, related disasters. The speakers will give an overview of the seismic renovation done to the building, discuss specific enclosures and other strategies the preservation department has used to protect especially fragile items, and detail what other collection management plans are in the works to further protect collection materials. The second portion will focus on how special collections staff can advocate for monetary funding and cultivate the staff support necessary to implement some of these strategies at their own institutions. The speakers will share some of the conversations that took place at the Marriott Library and how the concerns of various parties were overcome or mitigated. This will include an open discussion of the balance between access, security, and space.

Living Knowledge: Establishing a Seed Sharing Program at the UCLA Clark Library (Anna Chen, Rebecca Fenning Marshall, and Tanya Knipprath, UCLA)
The UCLA William Andrews Clark Library specializes in documentary evidence of 17th- and 18th-century life. While the Clark’s core users have traditionally been advanced scholars and academics, the library is increasingly committed to making to that history accessible to a wider range of audiences, and to contextualizing documentary culture within a larger fabric of material and immaterial forms of memory and knowledge transmission. Gardening, for example, is often an "heirloom" skill; many develop a love of gardening from knowledge that is passed down through families through experiential teaching and learning, sometimes aided but never purely prescribed by books. In the Fall of 2018 we implemented a seed sharing program as a form of outreach, in which patrons can “check out” heirloom seeds at the reference desk, grow them at home, and, when possible, bring back harvested seeds to be checked out to the next patron. This seed library brings together the Clark’s strengths in 17th- and 18th-century gardening manuals and cookbooks; its environmental resources--the Library is situated on five landscaped acres in the middle of an urban residential neighborhood of Los Angeles--and its potential role as a neighborhood educational resource. By bringing the Clark’s collections to life in this way, our goal is to re-seed heirloom knowledge in our community, strengthening our connections to the greater environment and to each other. This presentation will address the impetus and ethos behind establishing a seed library at a special collections library like the Clark, challenges and opportunities in the implementation, and lessons we have learned for the next year of the program.


Anna Chen

Head Librarian, William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, University of California, Los Angeles
Anna Chen is the Head Librarian at the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library. Prior to that, she was curator of rare books and manuscripts and assistant professor of medieval studies and library administration at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. At the U of I, she... Read More →

Rebecca Fenning Marschall

Manuscript & Archives Librarian, Clark Library, UCLA
Becky Fenning Marschall is the Manuscripts and Archives Librarian at UCLA's Clark Library, where she is responsible for the cataloging and management of all non-print materials, in addition to working with her colleagues on collection development, outreach and public programming... Read More →
avatar for Allison Marie McCormack

Allison Marie McCormack

Original Cataloger for Special Collections, University of Utah
Allie McCormack is the Original Cataloger for Special Collections at the University of Utah’s Marriott Library, where she works with a wide variety of materials including medieval manuscripts, 19th-century photography collections, and modern artists’ books. She holds an M.A. in... Read More →

Alison Elbrader

Assistant Librarian, University of Utah, J. Willard Marriott Library
Starting as a student in 2005, Alison has been with the J. Willard Marriott Library Special Collections for fourteen years. Inspired by the sight of the first edition of Galileo's Dialogo, Alison cultivated her passion, earning a BA in History at the University of Utah and, in 2013... Read More →
avatar for Joanna Kolosov

Joanna Kolosov

Special Collections & Archives Librarian, Sonoma County Library
I am a librarian and archivist at the History & Genealogy Library of the public library system of Sonoma County in Northern California. My current interests are documenting and preserving the web, genealogy outreach and reference services, and inclusive archival description. You can... Read More →

Thursday June 20, 2019 4:00pm - 5:30pm EDT