Amid this global uncertainty caused by Covid-19, where universities and libraries worldwide are working remotely to explore innovative ways to connect with students and one another, several academic archivists and preservationists pitched in to supply much needed emergency supplies—like OHIO’s Miriam Nelson, head of preservation and digital initiatives at University Libraries.
According to a news story by Timothy Inklebarger, nationwide several preservationists connected online through the American Libraries Association’s listserv for preservation administers and networked with local health care providers to get lifesaving supplies to where they were needed most.
“Archivists and conservators from university libraries across the country have been pitching in to help bridge the supply gap,” wrote Inklebarger, “[by] donating their supplies of PPE [which stands for personal devices designed to be worn for protection against health and safety hazards] and are typically used in the restoration of materials.”
Many of the items donated include N95 masks and nitrile gloves, which are used in cleaning or inspecting collections and kept on hand for disaster preparedness, and were organized through a team of administrators. But not all, other donations were independently organized through a local centralized distribution point.
“I knew our [Athens] hospital was trying to limit visitors, so I didn’t want to just show up with a donation,” said Nelson. “Instead, I called the health department to see if there was a centralized place for donations. They were already in the process of inventorying PPE and had the ability to get equipment where it was most needed, not just within the city of Athens but the entire county.”
For most conservators, being prepared to help with disasters in our communities is an integral part of what we do in our jobs, said Nelson, so really, it was no surprise that we rallied together to donate much needed emergency supplies.
“I think right now, everyone is just looking for active ways to help… and this is just one way to make a small contribution,” said Nelson.
For more information about this national effort read: University Libraries Help Hospitals with PPE Donations Preservation: specialists rush to fill shortages of protective gear | March 27, 2020.
Image from American Libraries Magazine