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Our Vision for Preservation in the Pacific Northwest*

Swimming Upstream: Cooperatively Preserving Collections in the Northwest September 21, 2000, University of Washington

In our vision there is:

  • Enthusiasm for preservation within our institutions and within the region.
  • Increased public/staff recognition of preservation and understanding of preservation needs.
  • A shared vision within our institutions and the region of the need and importance of preservation.
  • Institutional commitment to preservation activities – each institution has a preservation plan.
  • Political support within governments for preservation
  • More preservation resources and staff within our region
  • A regional preservation alliance or organization inclusive of all types of libraries/cultural institutions and geographic areas
  • Sustained funding for preservation projects, workshops, etc.

We want:

Assistance with planning and needs assessment to:

  • Assess regional preservation needs and collection strengths
  • Establish preservation goals and priorities
  • Create a vision and plan for preservation collaboration

Coordinated state and regional disaster preparedness planning to:

  • Help each institution develop a plan
  • Provide mutual aid and assistance
  • Identify supplies that might be needed 
    (might include a list, a central store, and/or shared purchase)
  • Assist with training

Preservation training within the region:

  • Preservation workshops, e.g., on:
    • Basic conservation techniques
    • Binding
    • Book repair
    • Disaster preparedness and response training
    • Grant writing
    • Preservation management
  • Internships
  • Train the trainer

To encourage collaboration/coordination between institutions and government agencies to gain resources for preservation activities and projects:

  • Cooperative contracts, e.g. mass deacidification and supply purchasing to lower costs
  • Cooperative grant writing
  • Cooperative preservation and digitization projects
  • Cooperative efforts to identify endangered materials
  • Coordinated collection development for preservation – last copy of record
  • Local and regional foundation support to make preservation a priority
  • Personal and institutional networking


  • Regional preservation listserv
  • Regional tools for local preservation activities, e.g. a traveling conservator for smaller institutions.
  • State preservation funding (from State Libraries?)
  • Shared preservation expertise (who is doing what, who can I call?, etc.)
  • Support from the Governor/Legislature in each state

Long Range:

  • Efforts might lead to the establishment of a regional preservation facility that might include:
    • Cold storage for nitrate negatives and other media
    • Conservation lab including photographic conservation
    • Environmentally controlled regional storage
    • Freeze drying service
    • Preservation microfilming/scanning service
    • Staff to provide assistance with preservation information, planning and surveys
    • Staff to provide regional preservation training



*Summary by Gary Menges based on flipcharts done at the meeting in breakout sessions