April 24, 2013
The Smithsonian Libraries hosted Preservation Matters — Stories of Disaster Response and Recovery in conjunction with the American Library Association’s Second Annual National Preservation Week. (April 21-27).
“Why Preserving History In the Face of Catastrophe Matters” was the focus of Steve’s keynote address. From super storms to blizzards to tornados to wildfires, we’ve shuddered under the onslaught of natural disasters. Named the national spokesperson for Preservation Week for 2012 and 2013, Steve energized the crowd of live participants along with more on an internet live stream to begin the day’s events. Throughout the day the various speakers referred to what Steve said in his remarks as a way of unifying their presentations about how quickly our heritage will be lost. Later, Steve attended the preservation fair with conservators from Smithsonian Libraries, Smithsonian Archives, and the National Archives. He spoke with the visitors and his presence and interest reinforced the importance of all they do in the face of huge disasters. Topics of the day included the massive damage fire (and the water used to stop it) can wreak at a library, and what pests, mold, and neglect can do to priceless materials.
For a live stream of the day’s events, click here.
Remarks from the organizer:
Mary Augusta Thomas, Deputy Director of Research Services, Smithsonian Libraries: “Having a spokesperson “who clearly gets it” was a boost to those in the field and was a highlight for those in attendance. We were able to attract a larger audience. Those attendees gained a more complete understanding of the challenges we face in preserving legacy materials. They also learned what they can do to help themselves in a disaster so that their own legacy isn’t lost.”