We have recently been awarded a second grant from the Luce Foundation to train librarians from China in preservation techniques.
During the period of the first grant, 2012-2013, Cornell University Library (CUL) entered into partnerships with the four leading academic libraries in Beijing, China: Renmin University Library, Peking University Library, Tsinghua University Library, and the China Agricultural University Library. The Cornell Conservation Lab offered a program of internships in preservation practice, an important building block in the creation of a preservation infrastructure within Chinese academic libraries. Eight librarians from the partner institutions came to Cornell to learn proper conservation techniques, shelving, care and handling, and housekeeping for collections with a primary focus on western style bindings from the Chinese Republican era. Cornell and other western scholars have often expressed concerns that their research is compromised by the loss of essential artifacts in many Chinese libraries. This program helped establish preservation programs where none existed and by doing so helped assure the availability of materials that are in imminent danger of loss. At the same time, it helped cement relations with people and institutions and led to improved access to collections and other research resources for scholars throughout the world.
The new grant will cover training librarians from other geographic regions in mainland China and Taiwan and is scheduled to begin in Spring 2015.