The story of Jina Park, a recent alumna of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science (GSLIS), wonderfully illustrates how the generosity of alumni and friends creates opportunities for bright, ambitious students to strengthen their own skills and make an impact on the campus at the same time.
In January 2012, Jina began her GSLIS practicum, which included reorganizing 16th through 18th century maps for the Rare Book and Manuscript Library. “I noticed that many of the maps were not in ideal preservation housing. So, I introduced new archival folders and buffered interleaving, and I created ultrasonic welded encapsulations for several of the maps to improve handling and the overall condition of materials,” explains Jina. In addition, she found several maps that were in need of basic cleaning, and some that required more extensive repairs of tears and holes. Jina says, “The timing of the project was perfect. I was learning about flat paper conservation from my supervisor, Cher Schneider, at the Preservation and Conservation Unit at the University Library while I was working with the maps. I was able to identify issues, suggest an assessment of the pieces, and use my knowledge and skills from inside the classroom and out to meet the needs of the collection.”
Currently, Jina is working on all aspects of the project – from continued reorganization to conservation and preservation of the more than 1,150 maps. Gifts from donors to the University Library Annual Fund are helping to pay her salary and assist with the costs of repair and restoration. Marten Stromberg, Curator of Rare Books and Manuscripts, says Jina’s work will have a lasting effect on the use of the maps. “The problem with flat materials, like maps, is that it’s a single sheet of paper without support. If they have historical damage that hasn’t been repaired and someone comes to view the map, there is a risk of further deterioration. With the preservation of these maps, they become more usable and the risk of loss of information and further damage to the artifacts is reduced.”
Jina feels a great sense of accomplishment in the project and also recognizes how this experience has benefited her. “This was really valuable for my career because it led to another assessment project at the University’s Ricker Library of Architecture and Art. A former graduate assistant at Ricker saw my assessment of rare maps and asked if I would do the same for the quarto size materials in their special collection section,” says Jina.
The future looks promising for Jina. She hopes that her experiences at the University Library coupled with a degree from one of the top Library Schools in the country will help her to secure her dream job to become a librarian in a rare books library.