PACKING AND MOVING LIBRARIES

Letter C 1583aroline has been involved in packing a number of libraries during her time as a library conservator.

The benefits she brings are:

  • Experience of managing the logistics of packing and moving a collection
  • Provision of an overview or detailed assessment of packing and moving library collections
  • Understanding the inherent strengths and weaknesses of collection items
  • Understanding packing needs
  • Minimising damage to the collection
  • Training library and archive staff, volunteers or packers

Caroline has written the booklet on packing and moving library and archive collections for the British Library Preservation Advisory Service (BLPAC – Moving)

Caroline was recently involved in packing the library at Charlecote Park, a National Trust house in Warwickshire. Renovations to the Library were required and it was safer that the books were removed and kept in an adjacent room, rather than protected in situ. Caroline provided training for NT staff and volunteers to carry out the packing, which became a feature of the visitors’ tour of the house and provided additional interest to their visit.

Case Study
St. Catherine’s Monastery, Mount Sinai, Egypt

The collection of 3,300 bound manuscripts, 15,000 early printed books, 9,000 modern books, an archive of 1,000 books, files, scrolls and folders; and approximately 1650 manuscript leaves and fragments is housed in St. Catherine’s Monastery 1500m up in the mountain of the Sinai desert. Much of the material is unique, some of it very fragile and only a fraction is fully catalogued. The challenges were many and varied, ranging from the logistics of working in a Monastery, and especially one in a desert, along with the procuring of the necessary materials, equipment and personnel to do the job.

Caroline had one visit, lasting two days, to come up with a viable plan. Once this had been accepted, she had a further two days on site to sort out every detail of the logistics of the packing. The work took place in two tranches over six and a half weeks, with an international team of conservators working in May and September, 2009; despite many challenges, the project was finished on time and on budget. Athanasis Velios and Caroline wrote a joint paper on aspects of this move for the Copenhagen Conference in 2011; you can find it here.

 

“As one of our move consultants, Caroline Bendix ACR played a vital role in the management and organisation of the move of UCL Special Collections to The National Archives, Kew (2010-2011) (click to read it). With her help and extensive experience we were able to move 7000 linear meters of archives and rare printed books smoothly and to agreed schedule. She also recommended sources of volunteers which made a huge impact on our ability to wrap and clean these often fragile collections. I have no hesitation in recommending Caroline Bendix’s skills as a library and archive move consultant and manager of volunteers.”

— Fred Bearman, UCL Preservation Librarian, UCL, London.