LIBR/ARST 596: John Richard Allison Library (Regent College)

Students interested in this project should complete the online application form here, please cite the project number 2017-01. Please include a resume, cover letter

Purpose of the project:
The John Richard Allison Library at Regent College has a growing rare book collection, currently consisting of just over 3,200 rare and early printed works, comprised largely of Anglican, Puritan and Evangelical writings, and representing such authors such as Richard Baxter (1615-1691), John Bunyan (1628-1688), Thomas Hooker (1586?-1647), and George Whitefield (1714-1770). The core of the collection is from the personal libraries of Drs. James I. Packer and James M. Houston, and later augmented by other generous donations, most notably that of Rev. E.B. Heaven of Port Hope, Ontario, whose contribution features the works of 17th-18th Century Anglican theologians. The Library seeks to build on these gifts and continues to collect rare and antiquarian works of classic Christian spirituality, with a special emphasis on Anglican, Puritan and early Evangelicals authors.

Having acquired the collection from disparate donors, items within the rare book collection vary greatly in regards to physical condition, size, and age. With limited staffing, there is no one on site with specialized preservation expertise. As stewards of this collection, we seek guidance in creating ongoing policies and procedures for the care of these works.

Summary of activities required to carry out the project:
Assess the current condition of the collection. Target volumes that require immediate attention;

Inform staff of any improvements that can be made to the shelving and storage of the rare books;
Establish best practices for the maintenance and data monitoring of the library’s dehumidifier and hygrometer;

Carry out minor book repairs on as time allows, concurrently guiding staff on basic preservation procedures;

In conjunction with library staff, obtain a quote for contracting out the repair of selected items from several special collections;

Train staff on the best practices for routine cleaning of the collection;

Provide a quote for any additional materials or equipment needed to carry out preservation measures in the library;

Create a written policies and procedures manual for the care and preservation of the rare book collection.

Expectations of the end result of the project, for both host and student:
Library staff will be provided with an informed policies and procedures strategy, supported by some basic training, applicable to the preservation of our rare book collection. The student will gain from the experience of developing a real-world preservation strategy in a small library setting.
Time periods in which the project could be supervised (check all that apply):
  • Winter Term 1 (September – December)
  • Winter Term 2 (January – April)
  • Summer Session, Term 1 (May – June)
  • Summer Session, Term 2 (July – August)
Is there a deadline by which the project must be completed?
Considering the project requirements, please suggest suitable coursework as pre-requisite or co-requisite: (e.g. LIBR 580 Collection Management, ARST 515 Arrangement & Description of Archival Materials.)

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