BPG DISCUSSION GROUPS
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
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
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.
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
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