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WKU Special Collections Library to host “Preserving Your Family Treasures”

Ali Costellow

Documents, books, photos and manuscripts can be an invaluable asset to future generations – if they have access to them.    

Organized by the WKU Special Collections Library, the “Preserving Your Family Treasures” event will take place at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, May 1, in room 212 inside the Raymond Cravens Library.  

Joseph Shankweiler, associate professor and special collections catalog librarian, said the goal of the event is “to bring awareness to the importance of the care and preservation of library collections and materials.”  

With more and more things turning digital, Shankweiler said it is important to know how to preserve physical personal collections.  

“This is part of preserving our history,” he said.  

Those who attend the event will get practical tips and basic instructions on how they can take care of their diplomas, books, photographs and more. Shankweiler said attendees will also find out how the WKU Special Collections Library preserves their materials and what happens if people do not monitor the environment around their collections.

“We just want to encourage preservation of rare materials,” Shankweiler said. 

As a special collections librarian, Shankweiler has a variety of responsibilities that range from doing reference services and cataloging to working the desk and establishing rapport with faculty and staff. Recently, Shankweiler said, the Special Collections has been collaborating with the History department.  

“I love my job because it is unpredictable from one day to the next,” Shankweiler said.  

The Special Collections Library has held similar events to “Preserving Your Family Treasures.” In the past, however, they were limited to different conferences and small genealogical and historical societies, as well as Continuing & Professional Development classes.  

Shankweiler said the event on Wednesday will be open to everyone and that he hopes there will be similar opportunities in the future.   

“Preserving Your Family Treasures” is organized as part of the National Library Preservation Week that spans from April 25 through May 4 this year, Shankweiler said. 

According to the Association for Library Collections & Technical Services, a 2004 national survey established that “roughly 1.3 billion items [in collections] need treatment to reduce the risk and rate of damage.” In light of this survey, the first Preservation Week took place in 2010.

News Reporter Mariia Novoselia can be reached at [email protected].

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