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RLUK/British Library Preservation Learning Programme

Research Libraries UK (RLUK) and the British Library are jointly funding a Preservation Training Coordinator post from 2009 to 2012 based at the Preservation Advisory Centre.


January 2012 The online resource Caring for Collections is now available on the Preservation Advisory Centre website. It provides an overview of how to care for the books and documents in library collections and explains why this is important. The resource is aimed at library staff who handle books and documents. It has been developed as part of the joint preservation learning programme by RLUK and the British Library Preservation Advisory Centre. We would like to thank all those who have helped in its development.

December 2011 A Research Libraries UK and Preservation Advisory Centre joint seminar for RLUK members exploring the relationship between research libraries' approaches to preservation and conservation and the wider context of their overall strategy for collection management.

In safe hands? Guaranteeing our collections
for future generations

3 February 2012, British Library Conference Centre, London

This one day seminar examines how research libraries are addressing the collections issues in terms of decision making, risk assessment and prioritisation. Speakers will present on using preservation as a strategy now and in the future; using digital surrogates as a preservation strategy; issues around disposal and the need to preserve the national collection. The seminar will consist of a mixture of presentations and breakout discussion sessions and will provide the opportunity to consider ways to take forward the work completed as part of the jointly funded three-year Preservation Learning Project which is ending in March 2012.


10.00 Introduction Andrew Green, National Library of Wales
10.20 To what degree can you use digital surrogates as a preservation strategy now?
Andrew Green, National Library of Wales
10.40 Case study - prioritisation
Katie Sambrook, King's College London
11.00 Break
11.20 Preservation as strategy Caroline Checkley-Scott,
John Rylands University Library, University of Manchester
11.40 Breakout groups - discussion session
12.15 Lunch
13.00 What are you doing when you throw things away?
Chris Fowler, University of Southampton
13.20 Copac collections management tools
Michael Emly, University of Leeds
13.40 Above our heads: preserving the national collection
Chris Banks, University of Aberdeen
14.00 Break groups - discussion session
14.40 Break
15.00 Plenary discussion session - all delegates
15.40 Summary David Prosser, RLUK

Registration form

Please copy the form below into an email, complete it and send it to The seminar is open to RLUK members only who are each invited to send two representatives free of charge.

I would like to book a place on the Preservation Advisory Centre/RLUK event ‘In safe hands? Guaranteeing our collections for future generations' on 3 February 2012.




Do you have any special requirements? (Special diet/mobility etc):

Would you be willing to chair a discussion group? yes/no

Would you be willing to take notes of group discussions? yes/no

Will you be tweeiting on the day? yes / no

Data Protection Act

The information you have supplied on this form will be held on a computer file for administrative purposes only, and will not be passed on to third parties. In accordance with the Data Protection Act you are entitled to see a copy of your record.

September 2011 Bookings are now being taken for the remaining courses in the joint RLUK/Preservation Advisory Centre preservation programme:

Introduction to preservation, 25 October, London
Planning approaches to digitisation, 4 November, London
Writing and using a preservation policy, 17 November, Edinburgh
Actions for access: tools to prioritize within collection care,
9 December, London
Digitisation practicalities, 12 December, London
Disaster response and salvage, 16 January 2012, London
Disaster response and salvage, 7 February 2012, Manchester
Damaged books: first practical steps, 7 March 2012, London

Further details on each of the courses can be found on the Preservation Advisory Centre’s events page .

July 2011 Work is continuing on the development of an online induction resource ‘Caring for Collections’. The aim of the induction is to build a culture of care for collections by giving an overview of why collection care is important and information on how to care for physical library and archive items. A working group has contributed to the content of the induction which includes information on deterioration and damage can be caused through using and storing books as well as suggestions for how this can be prevented. The resource will be available in autumn 2011.

March 2011 Can you help us to decide where to hold some of the RLUK/Preservation Advisory Centre autumn courses? We would like to be able to help you by holding some of our courses outside London to ease your travel time and costs. We know that the autumn seems a long way off, but we would like to finalise the arrangements by the end of April 2011 so that you can see the full range of what will be available until the end of the learning programme in March 2012.
   To voice your opinion (and have the chance of the courses you would like to attend being as near to you as possible), please email by 31/03/11 to let us know if you are interested in one or more of the three courses we are focusing on: Preservation basics, Preservation policies and Disaster response and salvage indicating your preferred location for each.

February 2011 We are now planning our autumn programme of courses. 'Preservation basics' and 'Preservation policies' will be run outside London. In early 2012, we plan to run one 'Disaster response and salvage' course in London and one outside. If you are interested in attending courses outside London, please email, as this will help us to decide on locations.
The first draft of the 'Online induction course in collection care for library staff' has gone to the working group for comments. Many thanks to the working group for their assistance with developing the course. Tools for prioritizing collection care takes place in Birmingham on 22 March.

January 2011 Towards the end of 2010, a personalised follow up questionnaire was sent to all those who had attended the RLUK/Preservation Advisory Centre training events up to July 2010. The response to this was very good with 41% of the questionnaires returned. The information gathered is being used to evaluate the longer term impact of the programme and also to inform future training events. Many thanks to all those who returned their questionnaire. Work is progressing on the online induction course in collection care for library staff. Software for authoring the course is being investigated and content drafted. Courses for February and March include Handling for Digitisation and Tools for Prioritizing Collection Care, more information on these and other courses can be found here.

December 2010 This autumn, we repeated two of the courses that had run earlier in the year. The Preservation Policies course was led by Jonathan Rhys-Lewis and included information on the purpose and benefits of a preservation policy and what to include – participants found this session to be particularly useful. There was also the opportunity to examine and discuss examples of preservation policies written by a variety of organisations. The Damaged Books and Bound Archives: First Practical Steps course was led by Caroline Bendix and included information on the different types of damage that can occur and how to prevent these. Participants were able to practice using tying tapes correctly and also made a protective MelinexTM book jacket. Work is progressing on an online induction course in collection care for library staff. A small working group met in November to discuss the topics to be included in the course. The course content is now being drafted. Courses for January and February include Preservation Basics, Approaches to Digitisation and Handling for Digitisation. More information on these and other courses can be found here.

November 2010 We are continuing to establish the longer term impact of the training courses that are run as part of the RLUK/BL Preservation Advisory Centre programme (i.e. what difference they make to people’s day-to-day jobs). A short personalised questionnaire is sent to those who came on courses to find out how they have used what they learnt, and who else they are sharing the information with. So far, follow up questionnaires have been sent to those who attended the winter Disaster Response and Salvage training courses; questionnaires will soon be sent to those who attended other courses held in Spring 2010. We have had a fantastic response rate of 38% so far, and are grateful for the thoughtful and thorough answers to our questions which are extremely helpful to us.

September 2010 On 6 September, 91 delegates came to the Wellcome Collection for our conference ‘Dare to share: new approaches to long-term collections management’. The day was very successful with some interesting presentations which discussed issues of hybrid collections; collection strengths and the ongoing need for print collections. A number of themes emerged from the conference including the building of trust; digitisation of holdings and whether in fact we dare not to share? The event’s twitter hashtag #daretoshare proved very successful, with 137 tweets about the conference, including many retweets form people who could not attend on the day. Copies of the presentations from the day can be found here.

August 2010 So far, 210 people have attended the 15 courses that have run as part of the preservation learning programme. Skills and knowledge have been gained; and RLUK members are finding the programme a valuable way to share experience and practice. Courses planned for the autumn include preservation policies; handling for digitisation; and damaged books and bound archives. The next date for diaries is the conference Dare to share: new approaches to long-term collections management taking place on 6 September. Details of all events can be found here.

May 2010 The six Preservation Learning Programme events held between December 2009 and March 2010 were well received with positive responses to evaluations. The second phase of the programme builds on this success and starts with four events which will take place in June and July 2010.

These training events focus on different areas of preservation. They have been designed to balance the need for an overview of some topics, with the greater level of detail requested on other subjects. Training events are being held in regional locations in reaction to the feedback from the focus groups and survey responses. We are grateful for the support from RLUK institutions who are taking an active part by acting as hosts for training events.

21 June Disaster response and salvage training Oxford
8 July Preservation basics Edinburgh
15 July Introduction to digitisation London
26 July Disaster response and salvage training London

Mar 2010 RLUK and the British Library are delighted to announce the appointment of Alison Faraday to the post of Preservation Training Coordinator from 29 March 2010. Alison will take forward the learning programme for 2010-11 and 2011-12; building on the research carried out in 2009 and evaluation of the first six events held between December 2009 and March 2010.

Biography: Alison has an extensive background in education and training. Originally trained as a primary teacher, she taught for 5 years. Alison then started to work for the British Red Cross and was responsible for leading courses in training and assessment for staff and volunteers in the south east. In 1999, Alison moved into education regulation, first working at the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority and then at the Training and Development Agency for Schools. Alison took up her first role at the British Library in 2007 as the British Library Centre for Conservation Training Coordinator. She was responsible for coordinating internships in book conservation and sound archiving. Alison also coordinated the conservation public programme which included behind the scenes tours of the conservation studios, public seminars and advisory days as well as a small number of professional training courses. Alison’s knowledge of conservation and sound archiving has grown considerably through her work in this role giving her a good understanding of the issues involved in these areas.

Dec 2009 First phase of Preservation Learning Programme (January-March 2010) designed in response to focus group and survey findings. Read more (PDF Format) 51KB.

14 January Disaster response and salvage training Edinburgh
19 January Preservation policies in practice London
25 January Disaster response and salvage training Leeds
23 February Prioritization tools for preservation London
2 March Damaged books: a practical approach London

Nov 2009 Presentation on findings of research into preservation training needs given at Preservation Advisory Centre Forum ' Doing more with less?'

Nov 2009 Survey of preservation needs training in the UK and Ireland undertaken. Results published (PDF Format) 1.33MB

Sep 2009 Report of the focus groups to identify preservation training needs in RLUK libraries published.

Jul 2009 Four focus groups were held in June and July, with invitees from RLUK member libraries. Participants discussed examples of useful preservation-related staff development; examples of preservation problems they had encountered and their views on training needs for the future.

May 2009 Jane Arthur was appointed to the post in May 2009 to develop and coordinate a preservation learning programme based on the identified needs of RLUK and the UK Higher Education libraries, in collaboration with the sponsors (RLUK and the British Library) and the collection care community. Jane comes with a career in university libraries – Leeds, Cranfield, Abertay and Hertfordshire – and a particular interest in collection management.