Consultancy

Letter F with book backgroundor her work, Caroline travels all over the UK, spending from a single day to several weeks on site. She works with a wide range of stakeholders, including librarians, archivists, curators, conservators, historic house owners, clergy and teachers. The libraries she is involved with vary, from small, modern collections to large historic ones, housed in many different buildings of a broad range of age, size and type. Her aim is to provide pragmatic and practical advice, working with those who look after the collections to provide the best solution to a range of preservation and conservation issues, often within constraints imposed by funding and staffing limitations. The best use of funding is a key element of her work, and she helps clients to work out new ways of bringing funding and interested people to libraries and to engage with visitors and users.

Advisor (1992 to date) to the National Trust on library conservation in 150 properties, with responsibility for surveys and preservation audits and the implementation of preservation and conservation programmes, including environmental control, display/exhibition, staff and volunteer training, in-situ conservation, packing and moving for building works, emergency and salvage procedures, shelving, storage and security, visitor engagement, conservation in action.

Advisor to NADFAS (National Association of Decorative and Fine Art Societies, 1992 to date), surveying and assessing suitability of libraries for volunteer projects and training the (80 approx.) groups of volunteers working in collections all over the country.

Continuing consultancies to English Heritage and other organisations, such as the British Library Preservation Advisory Service/BLPAC (formerly the NPO), All Souls College, Oxford, Rochester Cathedral, Houses of Parliament, Eton College and the Royal College of Physicians.

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Case Study

Rochester Cathedral

In 2012, Rochester Cathedral put together an HLF bid to fund its “Hidden Treasures, Fresh Expressions” project, which aims to provide better access to its archives through exhibitions and workshops. A significant element of the project is to renovate the Library roof and redesign the space and shelving to provide. In April, 2012, Caroline spent two days at the Cathedral Library, assessing the environmental conditions, the shelving, conservation requirements, packing and moving criteria and working with other Cathedral staff and volunteers to better understand the project. In September she provided training for volunteers to clean the books, record damage and carry out stabilisation to anything that could be further damaged by being moved, e.g. torn and lifting covering materials, detaching spine labels etc. In February 2013 the Cathedral was awarded funding by the HLF and the project and Caroline trained the volunteers to wrap and pack books and also advised on the modus operandi of the move. Throughout the project, she has provided advice at regular intervals, both on site and from a distance, and will continue to do so for the foreseeable future.

 

“Caroline has been a wonderful source of support to us on book conservation issues. She combines a wealth of technical knowledge and years of experience with a very practical approach, tailoring her advice to what we need most and can realistically achieve. Whether she is advising on minor book repairs or on packing and moving an entire library, her assistance is always invaluable and her positive attitude makes even the most daunting task seem manageable. Our NADFAS volunteers, for whom she runs an annual training day, say “Caroline is a marvellous communicator. Her enthusiasm is infectious and she inspires us with the confidence to learn so many new skills and techniques and apply them to the books we work with.”

— Kathy Lazenbatt, Librarian, The Royal Asiatic Society.

“Caroline’s expertise and advice is always practical and, importantly, centres the necessity to conserve and preserve the Cathedral’s Library collection for future generations while recognizing the necessity to engage current audiences with our collections. Caroline’s passion and enthusiasm is apparent in her work with the Cathedral’s collections, staff, volunteers and public alike. It is critical that the advice we receive is expert and that any conservation work carried out on the Cathedral’s collections is done to the highest standard. We would be happy to recommend Caroline to anyone to entrust her with their book collection.”

— Armand de Filippo. Library Development Officer, Rochester Cathedral