Librarian, Marriott Library
Disaster Recovery – Huntsman Cancer Institute Fire: On 15 January 2019, Marriott Library’s Preservation Department responded to an appeal for help from University Risk Management to assist in a post-fire recovery at the Huntsman Cancer Institute. The fire, caused by an exploding lithium battery in Susan Tamowski’s molecular genetics lab in the early hours of January 11, 2019 set off the lab’s fire wet pipe suppression system, thoroughly soaking hundreds of pages of unique research records. These documents represent the sole tool for linking years of biological tissue experiments (now frozen in liquid nitrogen) back to the original test data. The records were transported to Marriott Library’s Preservation Department, dried over the next several days, and returned to Susan Tamowski’s new lab on February 1.
2019 - 2019
Golden Spike Exhibit: Worked as the preservation consultant on the exhibit commemorating the 150th anniversary of the driving of the Golden Spike at the Utah State Capitol. The Utah Museum of Fine Arts has already mounted a Golden Spike exhibit, and David Carroll (Administrator, UMFA), and I are now collaborating with Utah State History, Utah State Capitol Preservation Board, and Spike 150 (established in 2017 by the Utah State Legislature and Governor Gary Herbert as an initiative of Utah’s Transcontinental Railroad 150th Celebration Commission) to coordinate a second Golden Spike exhibit at the Utah State Capitol. The Spike 150 exhibit will celebrate the 150th anniversary of the 1869 “wedding of the rails” at Promontory Summit, Utah during the weekend of May 10 – 11, 2019. The Spike 150 exhibit at the Utah State Capitol has national significance (S.2831 - Golden Spike 150th Anniversary Act, 115th Congress, 2017-2018) and will include the three golden spikes currently on exhibit at the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, plus the presidential order initiating the construction of the transcontinental railroad signed by President Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln document is being loaned by the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, DC, which sets extremely stringent standards for security, preservation, transport and exhibition of their collection. To meet these criteria in the short time available before the exhibit’s opening, I arranged to borrow two environmentally controlled exhibit cases from the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington capable of meeting these standards. I have also been intimately involved in locally design two additional exhibit cases that will house the three Golden Spikes in the Utah State Capitol’s Gold Room.
2018 - 2019
Served as preservation consultant for the proposed State of Utah Artifacts and Arts Collection Storage Facility. If approved and constructed, this building will provide safe, long-term storage for the collections belonging to Utah Division of Utah State History and Utah Division of Arts and Museums, both divisions of the Utah Department of Heritage and Arts. Situated near the historic Rio Grande Depot, this facility is intended to house some of the State of Utah’s most valuable and irreplaceable artifacts. Meeting with representatives of the Division of Facilities Construction and Management (DFCM), AJC Architects, and staff and administrators from Utah Department of Heritage and Arts, programming entailed the following range of issues: site analysis; defining requisite space requirements; assessing physical collections and future growth needs; structural and seismic analysis; mechanical and plumbing evaluation including optimal temperature and relative humidity requirements for permanence including cold storage for photographs; lighting and electrical needs including backup power generation; floor adjacencies; energy modeling; compact storage furniture; and public exhibition space.
2018 - 2018
Disaster Recovery – Kansas State University Hale Library Fire On May 22, 2018, a roofing construction project at Kansas State University’s Hale Library in Manhattan, KS began a large fire. The ensuing firefight resulted in approximately 400,000 gallons of water being pumped into the Library to extinguish the flames and to save the building. A member of the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA) as is the Marriott Library, Dean Comer asked me to reach out to Hale Library’s Dean Lori Goetsch to see if we could offer our assistance. Dean Goetsch directed me to work with Preservation Coordinator Kathryn Talbot, and over the next several months I provided Ms. Talbot timely recommendations to help address the library’s collection recovery issues. The most difficult problem faced by the library focused on the intense smoke and soot damage that had occurred. Commercial recovery firm Belfor found this soot extremely difficult to remove from the books and powder coated steel bookshelves, possibly because the soot’s chemical bonding was intensified by extreme heat and humidity. Fenella France, Chief of the Library of Congress’s Preservation Research and Testing Division, agreed to have her lab look into this soot problem on an emergency basis. In June, smoke-damaged books and steel shelving were shipped from Kansas to the Library of Congress where the chemists discovered that both acetone and xylene proved effective at removing it. This information was passed on to Hale Library and to Belfor and helped the recovery operation move forward. In the aftermath of this event, Dean Comer summarized our involvement: “It’s great when the library community pulls together in this way.”.
2018 - 2018
Disaster Recovery – Hurricane Irma: After Hurricane Irma hit the North Florida panhandle in Sept 2017 I contacted Ruth Slagle, the librarian at the Baptist College of Florida in Graceville, FL, who had reached out for help to the Emergency Heritage Responders, a service sponsored by the American Institute for Conservation. The Hurricane had blown holes in the library’s roof and Ms. Slagle was not receiving clear communication or any support from the College in the aftermath of the storm. I provided her with immediate recommendations to address the library’s recovery issues, and continued to communicate with her intermittently for the next 16 months. Unfortunately, the College remained unresponsive to Ms. Slagle’s requests for support to address the collection’s salvage. By January 2019, Ms. Slagle was asked by the College to “compile a list of damaged books for the insurance claim,” which, she told me in a letter, now included nearly every book in the library. Lacking support, the collection was lost, an avoidable outcome as most of the books were undamaged in Sept 2017 in the aftermath of the storm.
2017 - 2019
Served as the preservation consultant for design and construction of the Park City Museum Collection Storage Facility.
2017 - 2017
Entity: American Institute for Conservation (AIC) National Heritage Responder (NHR).
2005 - present
- Marriott Library Tenured Faculty Review Subcommittee.
Member, Post-Tenure Review Committee,
2016 - 2016.
- Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
2015 - present.
- Library Services Committee.
2015 - present.
- Unrequired Reading Group.
2014 - present.
- Library Council.
2013 - present.
- Role: Work with the University of Utah Office for Equity and Diversity to plan annual campus-wide Days of Remembrance activities University of Utah U Remembers Committee.
2002 - present.
Honors & Awards
- Received the Gardner Prize for “outstanding academic contributions”.
Utah Academy of Sciences, Arts, and Letters,
- 2014-15 Received Fulbright Specialist Program award to help improve preservation standards at the National Library of Uzbekistan. Traveled to UZ in April 2014 and April 2015.
- Received the Banks/Harris award for “outstanding achievement in the field of preservation”.
American Library Association,
Western Association for Art Conservation
11/04/2016 - 11/03/2017
In the Media
- Waters Rising: Letters from Florence by Sheila Waters (The Legacy Press, 2016), for which I wrote the introduction, was the recipient of the 2017 Preservation Publication Award given by the Society of American Archivists. 2017.
- Jordan Hanzon, Head of Preservation Travels 7,000 Mils to Save 80,000 Rare Books," Marriott Library blog, "Inspirations," posted spring (March 6) 2017. Retrieved 7 March 2017 at https://newsletter.lib.utah.edu/head-preservation-travels-7000-miles-save-80000-rare-books/
- Mary Oey, wrote a book review of Sheila Waters’ Waters Rising (for which I wrote the Introduction) titled: “Waters Rising: Letters from Florence — Peter Waters and Book Conservation at the Biblioteca Nazionale Centrale Di Firenze After the 1966 Flood,” Journal of the American Institute for Conservation 07 Feb 2017: 1-3.
- Michael Dirda of the Washington Post wrote a book review of Sheila Waters’ Waters Rising (for which I wrote the Introduction, “Peter Waters: Father of Preventive Conservation,” (Ann Arbor, MI: The Legacy Press, 2015).
- "Fulbright Specialist brings University Preservation Standards to National Library of Uzbekistan” posted on Global U, the University of Utah's global initiatives website. 2015.