Contributions to the 5th AICCM Book, Paper and Photographic Materials Symposium. Editors: Prue McKay and Alana Treasure. Canberra, ACT: AICCM (Inc.), 2008.
The British Library Centre for Conservation (BLCC), open and operating since May 2007, represents much more than a new building to house Conservation and the Sound Archive Technical Studios. The BLCC project was designed to encompass a far-reaching change programme. The need for change had been flagged up and was strongly reflected in the recruitment advertising for the Head of Conservation post in 2003. A year on from the opening, Conservation is beginning to reap the benefits of this change agenda with very well-received public programmes, internship and training programmes, staff development, more opportunities for closer curator-conservator consultation, better security for collections and improved processes for monitoring and reporting on our activities. While all of these can be demonstrated, there are also benefits that are not as easily measured or may not be immediately evident, but which will have profound effects for the future, e.g. a greater acceptance of change and its benefits as evidenced by the sense of achievement conservators get from public engagement that some felt quite uncertain about a year ago. Since opening the BLCC, representatives from many other organisations including the British Museum, NY Public Library, Bodleian Library and the Darwin Centre have visited to see the Centre and to get information on how the BL set up this project and our opinions on lessons learned. It is clear that across the cultural heritage arena people are reassessing their operations and engagement with the public. The BLCC project sits well within this context.