UBC Library Conservator Anne LamaPrevention rather than cure.

It’s a simple yet effective maxim – and one that Anne Lama, Library Conservator, promotes as she cares for UBC Library’s extensive physical collections. “Book damage over time is inevitable, but we can all play a part in preservation with some attention, knowledge and care,” she says.

As UBC Library expands its varied and unique collections, preservation-conservation activities become ever more significant to ensure collections are accessible for years to come. Managing the degradation of materials such as paper, leather, newsprint and other items, is where Lama comes in.

A conservator provides a range of services including treatment and care of collections, examination and documentation, and managing damaged materials through restoration processes. One of Lama’s top priorities is to set up the Library’s conservation lab to oversee the treatment of individual items and collection-level projects. She works closely with staff in Rare Books and Special Collections, and University Archives, to ensure the highest levels of collections care are met. 

Before joining the Library, Lama worked for 10 years as Conservator at the National Archives in Paris, France, and has experience in graphic art restoration. She notes that her work at the Library is a return to her first love – working directly with books – and feels that her new role focuses on the future of her profession.

Library student workerUBC Library often has cause to celebrate the success of student employees who are emerging leaders in their areas of study, as was recently the case with Tracey Vantyghem. A MLIS co-op student in the Scholarly Communications & Copyright Office, Vantyghem was awarded the Open Access Ambassador Travel Scholarship to attend the Berlin 11 Student and Early Stage Researcher Satellite Conference in Berlin, Germany. The conference brought together students and early stage researchers to work with leading figures in the open access movement, including researchers, publishers, policymakers and advocates.

“Many students and researchers are becoming aware of the rising costs of academic serials, and how this means that more and more people can’t afford access to the information they need,” says Vantyghem. “This includes everyone from academics and students at smaller universities that lack a large serials budget, to doctors and health workers at hospitals that are not supported by a research library, to researchers in developing countries whose institutions simply can’t afford the cost of many important journals.” 

Open access materials, available online to the public and provided by scholars for free, benefit such groups and provide opportunities for multi-disciplinary research breakthroughs.

Vantyghem notes that UBC Library is well placed to act as a hub for open access advocacy, mentorship and education. “I meet with many researchers who are interested in publishing their work as open access, but feel that they are beholden to a tenure and promotion system that discourages involvement in open access or straying from the status quo and, as a result, that their hands are tied,” she says. “However, young researchers are the ones who will inherit the current scholarly communications system, and so I think that engaging them now and making the Library a hub for open access support and education are the most promising ways to encourage change.”
 

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