The Library has not conducted a review of collection storage parameters for 15 years. In light of recent research supporting broadened parameters, and the development of revised parameters internationally, a review of parameters is currently taking place.
Latest research into collection storage guidelines has seen a general shift towards broader parameters. This is paired with an international acknowledgement that museums and collecting institutions have a responsibility to reduce their carbon footprint and operate in a more sustainable manner. The recent International Institute for Conservation (IIC) congress in Hong Kong and the International Council of Museums Committee for Conservation (ICOM- CC) conference in Melbourne developed a joint declaration for the international conservation community. (http://www.icom-cc.org/332/-icom-cc-documents/declaration-on-environment…)
The AICCM parameters are broad. They are also guidelines for the acceptable storage and display of general collection material and as such, the Library’s tape stores, cold store, freezer and exhibition galleries fall outside the scope of this project.
For the parameters to be successful, the Interim Guidelines acknowledge that institutions need to work within these guidelines in a manner that suits their collection and organisation. The Library’s collections of predominantly paper based materials are densely packed in storage. The buffering nature of paper-based collections enhances the capacity of stacks to drift gradually within parameters and create a stable environment. Additionally, Canberra’s mild and dry climate contributes to gradual drifting. Recent seasonal trials of turning off air conditioning to a number of stack areas, and the ongoing passive climate at the Library’s off-site repository, have shown that the building and collection lend themselves to a stable environment when allowing seasonal drift.
This paper will summarise the broadened parameters that have been agreed, the staged approach the Library is taking to broadening parameters, issues that have been faced along the way, and a report on how the project is progressing.
Denyl Cloughley: Since graduating from the University of Canberra in 2001, Denyl Cloughley has worked as an Objects Conservator in museums, libraries, art galleries and private conservation companies throughout Australia, New Zealand and the United States of America. She currently manages the Preservation team at the National Library of Australia.
Erin Dampney: During 11 years at the National Library, Erin has worked across a number of areas including Preservation, Exhibitions and Building Services. Erin was project manager on the design and construction of the Library’s Treasures Gallery, and now works as Sustainability Project Manager, supervising the Library’s sustainability and building heritage initiatives.