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AIC NEWS

, May 2012

BPG DISCUSSION GROUPS



BPG Discussion Groups continues from front cover

standardize nomenclature and build consensus on treatment tech-

niques. The large group of over 130 attendees was so excited that 

the bustle of activity—including live sketching and photographers 

documenting participants—drew the attention of the AIC Board 

that was meeting in a room across the hall. 

Support from the AIC Board was constant during the early 

formative years of LCCDG, particularly under the leadership 

of former AIC Presidents Debbie Hess Norris and Jay Krueger, 

and remains so today. Following the precedent set in the 1990s, 

co-chairs have worked in close contact with the BPG officers 

and Archives Conservation Discussion Group* (ACDG) chairs to 

coordinate activities. Internal BPG archival records such as a 1993 

LCCDG report to the BPG Chair demonstrate that its emphasis 

has been on enriching, rather than competing with, other BPG 

efforts and presentations. As the AIC annual meetings have 

matured and the schedule has become more uniform, LCCDG 

has responded with shorter and more focused sessions on one or 

two topics. 

Many arenas outside of AIC were established in the 1970s and 

1980s for book conservators to gather and exchange informa-

tion on book history, book arts, paper making, and bookbinding. 

Each of the many ancillary organizations, meetings, classes and 

workshops such as the Guild of Bookworkers (GWB), established 

1906, as well as regional GBW chapters, and the Preservation 

Section of the ALA, the Western Association for Art Conservation 

(WAAC), Rare Book School, Paper and Book Intensive, and the 

Montefiascone Project provided a forum for sharing ideas and 

experiences among like-minded professionals. LCCDG provided a 

similar platform, but focused on the conservation and treatment of 

library collections with special emphasis on general, that is, non-

rare materials within the annual meeting format. 

A close relationship with the ALA and other outside groups 

created an atmosphere of cross-pollination that was fundamental 

to a successful start for LCCDG. ALA is a large and comprehensive 

organization of library professionals, with current membership of 

over 62,000 people. Dynamic discussions and informal exchanges 

of information have always been a vibrant part of the ALA culture. 

The first three sets of LCCDG co-chairs, from 1991–2005, not 

only organized discussion sessions at the AIC meeting but also 

served as AIC Liaisons to ALA, or on ALA’s various preservation 

committees. LCCDG session topics were often expanded upon 

and even continued at ALA meetings as part of ongoing efforts 

to inform the greater library preservation community of book 

conservation activities.

The discussion groups under Grandinette and Silverman 

(LCCDG co-chairs 1991–1999) aimed to respond to the climate 

of libraries and book scholarship while remaining centered on 

treatment. Other members of the library preservation community 

such as preservation administrators, librarians, book historians, and 

conservators were encouraged to participate in sessions relating to 

book connoisseurship, exploring the concept of “medium-rare” 

collections, and contextualizing treatment within a collection. 

Grandinette and Silverman were heavily influenced by the work 

of Bob Futernick and others to incorporate project management 

methodology into treatment issues. 

The sessions during the middle years of LCCDG, from 1999–

2005, often centered on management of lab staff, broader library 

preservation efforts like shrinking budgets and time management, 

or workplace conditions like ergonomics. In more recent years, 

from 2005 to the present, the LCCDG sessions have been loosely 

aligned with the AIC theme of a given meeting or have been 

organized cooperatively with the ACDG or another specialty 

group such as EMG, drawing capacity crowds from all sectors of 

the conservation community. 

The evolution of LCCDG reflects the maturation of book 

and library conservation within the United States. LCCDG set 

the precedent within the conservation community for creating a 

nimble and dynamic forum for exchanging focused experiences 

and ideas. Interest in and attendance at LCCDG sessions was and 

remains an important part of the AIC conference experience for 

book and paper conservators. 



Archives Conservation Discussion Group 

(ACDG)

The ACDG* arose from the shared interests of conservators 

working in archives. At the 1992 AIC Annual Meeting in Buffalo 

New York, approximately 30 conservators met one evening in the 

hotel lounge with Mary Lynn Ritzenthaler and Karen Garlick 

to facilitate discussion. That first meeting was filled with wide-

ranging discussion of topics including education, training, docu-

mentation, and specific treatment concerns such as deteriorated 

laminated objects, manuscripts on vellum and their attachments, 

writing inks, and collections’ housing options.

During the initial years, meetings grew larger and gradually 

began to focus on single topics. ACDG would meet outside of 

the BPG program, often in the evening at the conference hotel. 

Early chairs such as Diana Alper (1993–1994) and Hilary Kaplan 

(1995–1998) kept meetings informal and they worked with other 

archives conservators to develop relevant topics for discussion. 

Chairs often identified contributors in advance who were willing 

to share projects or techniques relevant to the topic at hand. There 

were sometimes slides, but sessions were not highly structured. 

Topics throughout ACDG’s history have been focused on the 

direct treatment challenges facing archives conservators. Topics that 

have been re-visited several times include surface cleaning, humidi-

fication, flattening, and mold remediation, all within the context of 

the archives collections that require batch treatment of records on a 

large scale. There have been ten ACDG co-chairs, with combina-

tions of two and three chairs leading the group at different times. 

ACDG generally limited the scope of the group to activities 

at the AIC Annual Meetings, produced no publications or outside 

workshops, and did not participate in formal liaison relationships 

with other organizations, although many participants were active 

in SAA (Society of American Archivists), ALA, and other allied 

organizations. 

Kathy Ludwig (1999–2002) increased ACDG’s presence 

within the official BPG program, sometimes scheduling a lunch-

time meeting during a BPG session day, and by 2002, the ACDG 

had garnered an official spot in the program. Presentations also 

became more formal, notably with the topic of deacidification 

for archival collections in 2000 and two prepared talks that were 






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