Preservation week: 5 questions with Lucy Castro and Caleb Cochran

April 26, 2016
Richenda Brim
Caleb Cochran ad Lucy Castro, Binding and Finishing

Our Preservation Week posts continue today with Lucy Castro and Caleb Cochran from the Binding and Finishing unit. Our Binding and Finishing team prepares the general collection print and media materials for shelving, reformatting, and commercial bindery. Their work helps prolong the useful life of our circulating collections.

For more information about Preservation Week including resources, quick tips, and free webinars visit the American Library Association’s Preservation Week

Lucy Castro has worked as a Library Specialist in Bindery Preparation for fourteen years.

Tell us about your work, Lucy.

The materials we receive every day come from different libraries around campus. We process them using a computer program called Advanced Bindery Library Exchange (ABLE) to send for commercial library binding outside campus. We also resolve other problems with materials through conversation with our binders and Conservation Services for treatments to make them more durable.

What is your favorite book/item to come across your bench in the past year?

The House of Bernarda Alba by Federico Garcia Lorca 

With so much change in preservation in the last two years, what has been fun and/or challenging?

The changes are good, but the challenge is maintaining high productivity and quality on time.

Has your work in Preservation influenced your life outside of work?

Of course, one of my hobbies is painting. I am more interested in studying to develop my abilities and also studying new languages like Italian and German.

Why did you decide to go into this field?

I enjoy working with books, helping people in general with the research information they need, and working with co-workers that are interested in books. Working at Stanford University Libraries, I am always learning and enriched by the innovative ideas of writers and the technology resources for libraries.

Can you recommend some books/websites/articles on your field?

I recommend this interesting website on Wiblingen Monastery. The monastery has a Rococo style library and a Baroque style church with a museum. It is a “place for preserving treasures of wisdom and science.” I would like to visit this site in the future.


Caleb Cochran is one of four Library Specialists in the End Processing unit of Binding and Finishing.

Tell us about your work, Caleb.

I do what is known as End Processing which mainly consists of call number labeling, edge stamping, bookplating and placing date due stickers on the books. It can and does get more involved and complicated than that a lot of the time, but this is the basic breakdown of End Processing. I also handle the label requests from different libraries for call number labels, barcode duplicates and/or date due stickers. Another thing I do is count and sort the books that come in from the cataloging departments and the Green Library mailroom. This can range upwards of 1200 books in a single day.

What is your favorite book/item to come across your bench in the past year?

Although the books that come in for the Art & Architecture Library can be quite interesting and pretty to look at, I think the books about astronomy are the most fascinating to me. Learning about our galaxy and all of the other galaxies out there in the universe peaks my interest the most. Are we really the only planet to have life or are there more that we just don’t know about? I don’t know the names of any one specific book, but I do know they are mostly going to the Engineering Library with a handful going to Cubberley Education Library.

With so much change in Preservation in the last two years, what has been fun and/or challenging?

I would have to say the most challenging thing to happen would be the move from Meyer Library to Lathrop Library. The planning of the space, trying to figure out where everyone is going to sit in a way that makes sense to our workflow (which also had to change because of the layout in our new area is different), to packing everything up and figuring out what stuff we’re bringing over versus what we don’t need/can’t fit, along with keeping up with the regular B&F duties. Then having to unpack everything and figure out where to put it all. I would say though that going around Lathrop and finding all the little passageways that lead to a bunch of different areas was pretty fun. It’s fairly easy to get lost in this building if you don’t know your way around.

What parts of the library do you wish you knew more about?

I do wish I knew more about the book cataloging side of the library. I’d like to know how they know what info gets put in what fields and where they get that info from in the first place. Or even after the book leaves B&F, what do the different libraries do with the book before it gets put on the shelf? Maybe that way I could make better decisions on how I approach books that have special needs.

What is something about your job we might be surprised to learn?

Honestly, I’m so surprised at how many books there still are out there because it feels like Stanford should have every single book in every single volume in every single language by now. I mean the amount of books I see and process on the daily that come through B&F just makes me wonder how there can be so many books in the world. I would think in this day and age everyone would just Wiki everything or get it from somewhere on the Internet. (Anyone remember the Google project)?