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Library & Archives Conservation Education Survey Results Released

Posted: February 8, 2017

The Buffalo State College Art Conservation Department in collaboration with the University of Delaware/Winterthur and New York University are excited to announce the results of their commissioned Library and Archives Conservation Education (LACE) Survey funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and conducted by Protect Heritage Corp. The objectives of this LACE Survey were to assist the graduate education programs understand employer expectations of entry-level conservators within research libraries and archives to aid in setting instructional priorities to meet the changing environments of libraries and archives.

The Survey obtained input from 29 employers to whom entry-level conservators report.  The titles and positions of the participants were varied representing 20 different university libraries, 5 independent collections, 2 government institutions, and 2 regional conservation centers. Geographically the sample was well distributed across the United States and reflected regional concentrations of libraries and archives.  Most survey respondents (71%) have hired a recent graduate of a North American or European conservation-training program within the last 5 years and a majority (57%) anticipates hiring an entry-level conservator within the next 5 years.

Survey respondents ranked two kinds of skills and competencies as most important for entry-level conservators to have.  These are hands-on treatment skills and a broad functional knowledge of conservation techniques, theory, and ethics.  Notably, participants indicated that they expect these two highly ranked skills or competencies to be acquired primarily during graduate conservation education.  Other skills or competencies could be further developed on the job but respondents expected all skills and competencies to be developed to some degree during graduate conservation training.

Many survey respondents expressed that in order to obtain a professional status within their institution a master’s level of education is required, whether that be an MLS, MLIS, MA, or MS from a North American or European training program.  Several respondents expressed having a higher level of comfort with graduates of North American conservation programs due to their familiarity with the programs, instructors, and curriculums.  Those who had direct experience with recent library and archive conservation graduates of the three American graduate programs expressed having positive experiences overall.

Survey respondents expressed their sincere thanks and appreciation that the Consortium has undertaken the task of completing this research; many conveyed their understanding of the difficulty of the process and their appreciation of the commitment and efforts of the Consortium and program graduates on behalf of the field.  

To read the full survey and results, click here for a PDF version of the report.




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Patricia H. and Richard E. Garman Art Conservation Department

1300 Elmwood Ave  •  Rockwell Hall 230 •  Buffalo, NY 14222
Phone: (716) 878-5025 •  Fax: (716) 878-5039