Eve Kahn sees a booming market for conservation efforts directed at saving paper:
Unglamorous, laborious yet urgent, paper conservation has become something of a growth industry in the last few years. Institutions are coping with their libraries’ obsolete mid-20th-century storage systems and repair techniques. “Methods and tools that were considered state of the art, we now realize, can sometimes actually do more harm than good,” said Kimber Craine, the director of program initiatives for the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, which oversees Save America’s Treasures.
This year about 400 groups have applied for the $10 million grant pool, up from 300 in 2008. “And a lot of what people need help with is paper,” Mr. Craine said. “It’s not something sexy that the private sector is likely to step in to take care of.”
Last year Save America’s Treasures doled out $1 million for paper conservation projects; collections based in New York City received three-quarters of that total. Some repairs will be sweeping — the New York Academy of Medicine Library is spending $500,000 on new climate-control systems for its stacks — while others focus on individual pages.
The New-York Historical Society is devoting its $180,693 grant to unfurling, flattening and reshelving about 60,000 drawings that McKim, Mead & White, the influential architecture firm whose founding partners included Stanford White, produced between the 1870s and 1950s.
Conservation Efforts for Endangered Papers (New York Times)