Preserving Our Collective History: The Lessons of Notre Dame

The world watched in shock and disbelief as flames raged through the Notre Dame Cathedral last week. As Paris looks to rebuild one of its most treasured landmarks, we’re reminded of the importance of preserving and protecting our personal and collective history.

“Aside from my disbelief and heartfelt sadness, I could not help but reflect on the UC San Diego Library’s unique collections, such as the Dr. Seuss and Jonas Salk collections, and how the Library would respond in an emergency situation,” said Preservation Manager Joaquim Neves. “Fortunately, the Library understands that it has a responsibility to properly steward and protect the collections that it builds.”

From April 21 to 27, libraries, archives and museums across the globe present events, activities and resources during National Preservation Week that highlight what we can do, individually and together, to preserve collectibles, digital photos, family records and much more. At the UC San Diego Library, we understand the importance of ensuring our university’s resources live on. In fact, we have a whole team of preservation experts dedicated to granting our students, faculty and researchers access to what they need, when they need it, and in the form that is most useful to them.

“It is my hope that National Preservation Week helps remind people and collecting institutions of the importance of protecting their family treasures and institutional holdings by creating a well-thought-out and updated disaster recovery plan,” said Neves. “I strongly encourage everyone to visit the San Diego County of Emergency Services website and learn how to create a Family Disaster Plan.”

As part of National Preservation Week, the Library’s Preservation Unit will be hosting a book repair demonstration on Wednesday, April 24, from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. in the lobby outside the Business and Employee Services office in the Geisel Library building. Stop by on your way to or from the DIY Makers’ Day event to see repairs in action and ask questions about how book repair, bindery, and other aspects of preservation work at the Library.

In 2010, the American Library Association (ALA) launched Preservation Week to help raise awareness about the immediate attention and care of our institution’s collections and to connect the general public to preservation information and expertise.