Preservation!

Written By: Betty Slutsky Published: Mar 25th, 2012

Did you know that one of your friendly Papercut librarians is an archivist in training? She was invited to talk at New England Archivists’ DIY-themed conference in Connecticut yesterday on a panel about Building Community Archives with Volunteers. For indeed, Papercut has always been a volunteer endeavor, and in May we will mark our seventh anniversary as such. At a packed session, also featuring representatives from Boston’s Occupy Library and Keene State’s Modern Poetry Archive, this Papercutie introduced a room bursting with archives professionals to the way we do things at Papercut, bringing along and circulating through the room for perusal over a dozen zines in the event that attendees had never encountered any (the zines that took the longest to come back: DIY Berlin: Be Your Own Damn Tour Guide, feminist bike zine Bay State Badass, There Has Been No Cover Up, exposing and fighting rape culture at Cornell University, and the Relationship Playbook from Pittsburgh). Attendees loved the zines and were fascinated and enraptured by the presentation.

Meanwhile, elsewhere at the conference, this Papercutie picked up a bottle of deacidification spray from the Preservation Technologies table, an operation run outside Pittsburgh. Most of the zines in our 14,000-item strong collection, while delightful, were generally not made for endurance. Though the cheapness of zines is generally listed among the virtues of the medium, the materials upon which most were made mean that as years and decades go by, the acid content of the paper will eventually cause the materials to devour themselves. No materials in our collections evince this more clearly than our newsprint items, plenty of which date back to the 1970s, and some from earlier. Before the bottle of deacidification spray ran out, our heroine managed to coat four copies of HOMOCORE (queer punks) from the late 80s and early 90s, as well as two anarchist-feminist publications from 1978, one produced in London and the other in JP.

True story.

So come on by! We’re here Saturdays, Sundays, and Mondays 2-7 and if you ask very nicely and promise to be careful, you can examine the old things we keep hidden.

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