For libraries, the preservation of collections is such an important aspect that it deserves a week-long celebration, said Miriam Nelson, head of preservation and digital initiatives for Ohio University Libraries.
Each April since 2006, Nelson added, the American Library Association (ALA) dedicates a week to highlighting how librarians work to keep all their collections intact and accessible to users. Although the ALA provides some webinars throughout the week, individual libraries determine how to celebrate the week.
“You mostly think about books when you think about libraries, but we have lots of different kinds of materials,” said Nelson, who organizes Preservation Week for Ohio University Libraries. “Preservation Week is a time to educate people a little bit more about safe preservation of traditional collections and more unusual collections such as audio/visual or photograph collections…things like that.”
From April 22 through April 28, Nelson will feature on the Libraries’ Tumblr different parts of collections, all relating to the ALA’s theme: community foodways and community archives.
Using Tumblr, Nelson will highlight the Libraries’ 1875 book, “The Eclipse: For Hotel and Home Cooking, Suitable for Rich and Poor” by H.J. Hawhe. In addition to the published recipes in the book, its previous owner added clippings and recipes, Nelson said.
“For Preservation Week I wanted to highlight the different ways that recipes are recorded, shared, and preserved,” Nelson said. “We chose to highlight [the] cookbook because it is a wonderful example of how books can tell us so much about how people lived. You can see how this cookbook was used in such an interactive way. The book highlights that intersection of the published and personal history of food culture at that time.”
Miriam Intrator, special collections librarian, said the Libraries holds the book because it helps tell part of the time-period history in Ohio.
“There are a number of reasons we have this book: It is an Ohio imprint still in its original attractive blue publisher’s binding, which tell us something about the history of the book and printing in Ohio,” she said. “It provides a glimpse into the home and lives of women who were expected to be the cooks at the time, and it is a book that has been interacted with by its previous owner(s)…”
Nelson added that although the week-long celebration mainly focuses on what librarians can do to preserve special and rare collections, understanding the process is also important to the University community.
“I think the key thing that I would like people to connect to is that our Libraries’ collections are not really just representative of higher education,” Nelson said. “They’re also part of the larger cultural record, so we have a lot of collections that are very relevant to this region…”