Library Establishes Department of Collections Care

books with processing slips sticking up

The Department of Collections Care brings under one functional group the intertwined areas of conservation, preservation, shelving, offsite storage, and environmental control for Library collections. The new department governs these measures for collections housed in Library facilities on campus as well as the Library Annex located nearby in Cranston, RI.

Michelle Venditelli, Director of Collections Care

This Library-wide approach to the stewardship of our physical collections is led by Michelle Venditelli, who has been promoted to Director of Collections Care from her previous position as Head of Preservation, Conservation, and the Library Annex.

Michelle spearheaded the Library’s Healthy Collections Ecosystem Initiative, through which she, her staff, and other Library colleagues have worked to implement a Food, Drink, and Plant Policy for Library staff; launched a comprehensive book re-shelving initiative in the Rockefeller Library; and established an Integrated Pest Management system — the global standard for natural environmental care. Michelle also foregrounded the importance of patron and staff health in an environment that has the potential to attract pests, mold, mildew, and other contaminants that thrive on the organic materials in books and other collections items.

The Department of Collections Care works closely with Library Facilities Management and Brown’s Office of Environmental Health and Safety to ensure optimal, ongoing conditions for collections materials and the humans who share space with them. Staff in all these areas serve proactive roles, and are nimble responders to unexpected environmental concerns like weather intrusions. And, of course, the Department of Collections Care is responsible for making special collections materials available to scholars while safeguarding the physical integrity of the items. Members of this department oversee collections conservation and disaster planning and response, create custom enclosures and exhibit supports, process collections with call number labels, and more, depending on the item. Michelle and her staff are essential, behind-the-scenes experts and contributors to the operations and academic mission of the Brown Library.

Question about the Department of Collections Care and its activities? Email [email protected].

Announcement | Healthy Library Collections Ecosystem Initiative

Healthy Library Collections Ecosystem Initiative

In January 2019, the Library launched the Healthy Library Collections Ecosystem Initiative for the Rockefeller Library and the Annex. The goal is to improve and develop workflows, processes, and solutions that will ensure healthy and equitable movement of library materials throughout their lifecycle. Findability and browsability will be enhanced, shelf space will be optimized, books and other materials will be suitably placed, and library usage data will be expanded and refined–all resulting in a healthy library environment for patrons, Library staff, and collections materials.

The Shift

A direct response to feedback received through graduate student survey data, the two-year Initiative will conclude in January 2021, when a large shift of materials at the Rockefeller and the Annex will take place. In addition to populating empty shelf space and creating room on overcrowded shelves, the shift will take usage data into account to make sure that items frequently circulated or used onsite will be available in the stacks at the Rock, and that less-used items and digital material available online will be moved to the Annex. We will not be getting rid of books.

System of Healthy Collections Flow

Once the improved processes are in place and the shift occurs, the Library will have identified and established a system of healthy collections flow that will allow for new items to move into the Rock.

Benefits

  • Already, book locator technology has been repaired and improved! 
  • All new books can be shelved within a few days of receipt
  • Books and other materials will live in a healthy shelf habitat
  • Locations in the catalog will align with locations in the Rock
  • All items in a call letter will be located together, so browsing the stacks will be easy, enjoyable, and fruitful
  • Scans from all journals at the Annex can be requested and received in a timely manner 

Process

A cross departmental committee of Library staff is overseeing and conducting the steps of this process, which is akin to having construction zones on campus. Your experience at the Library from now until January 2021 will not change, aside from incremental improvements like small shifts to create more space for overcrowded books. We will continue to provide the same high level of services, facilities, and physical and digital resources throughout the entire process.

Input

In addition to using feedback the Library has already gathered from patrons, we are conducting focus this semester, including faculty and students. 

If you would like to participate in the focus groups or have any questions, suggestions, or concerns, please contact us at [email protected]

Committee

  • Nora Dimmock, Deputy University Librarian, Chair
  • Pat Putney, Associate University Librarian for Scholarly Resources
  • Sarah Evelyn, Director of Academic Engagement for the Humanities and Social Sciences
  • William S. Monroe, Senior Scholarly Resources Librarian, Humanities
  • Emily Ferrier, Librarian for Social Science and Entrepreneurship
  • Bart Hollingsworth, Head of Circulation and Resource Sharing
  • Kimberly Silva, Rockefeller Circulation Manager
  • Michelle Venditelli, Head of Preservation, Conservation, and the Library Annex
  • Paul Magliocco, Head of Annex and Stacks Maintenance Preservation Service
  • Dan O’Mahony, Director of Library Planning and Assessment