Preservation week: 5 questions with Monique Murphy

April 25, 2016
Richenda Brim
Monique Murphy, Operations Manager, Preservation Department

This week, libraries around the country will share preservation tips and stories for the American Library Association’s annual Preservation Week. You can find preservation resources, quick tips, and free webinars on the Preservation Week site covering the spectrum of collection care from textiles to personal digital archives. We will spend this week meeting some of the people that support preservation and conservation activities across Stanford Libraries. Team members from Preservation, Digital Library Systems and Services, and Special Collections have answered five questions about themselves and their work on the long-term care of our books, archives, audio-visual resources, and born-digital files.

We kick off Preservation Week with Monique Murphy, Operations Manager for the Preservation Department.

Tell us about your work:

As SUL Preservation department Operations Manager my work includes monitoring and reporting climate conditions in certain library collection areas.  These areas include SAL 1&2, the new Bowes Art and Architecture Library, West Stacks in Green Library, the Field and Barchas rooms and other areas, on and off campus.  I collect and download temperature and humidity data from electronic loggers and generate monthly reports.  These reports are shared with Facilities and other collection specific managers with recommendations for climate adjustments when necessary. 

I perform quarterly pest inspections in East Asia Library, SAL 1&2, Lathrop Library and other areas where special and other collections are held.  These quarterly pest inspections assist in ensuring SUL collections are clean, dry and free of rodents and insects like silverfish, psocids, and beetles.  The pest control aspect of the work also includes freezing books in which evidence of insect habitation is present.

Preservation work also includes assisting with emergency preparedness and response.  We provide supplies like absorbent pillows and plastic sheeting, flashlights, duct tape, fans and dehumidifiers.  We respond when water pipes leak, flooding occurs and when conditions threaten to, or are in the process of, damaging SUL collections.

When not monitoring or inspecting I support the Preservation department by managing a large number of orders for equipment, materials and supplies necessary for the preservation, conservation and binding and finishing of collection materials.

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

I’d like to learn more about the processes for acquiring special collections.

Do you have a favorite tool or piece of equipment? 

My favorite tool is a simple lighted magnifier which enables me to identify tiny insects found in pest traps and in books that come in for freezer treatment.

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

You’d be surprised to know how many insects lived in the Harold A. Miller library (Hopkins) when I started working for SUL over five years ago!

Can you recommended a book/websites/article about your field? 

For more information on collection preservation, see Preservation at the Library of Congress and Book Preservation at the Art Institue of Chicago