04 December 2013 Volume :1 Issue :14

Librarian of the Year Returns After Visit to Trinity College in Ireland

Librarian of the Year Returns After Visit to Trinity College in Ireland
Ms Nellie Somers in the Long Room of Dublin’s Trinity College Library.

KwaZulu-Natal’s Librarian of the Year for 2012, Ms Nellie Somers, recently returned from a short visit to the Preservation and Conservation Department at the Trinity College Library in Dublin, Ireland.

The visit was made possible through prize money - sponsored by EBSCO Information – Somers won when she was named runner-up in the National Librarian of the Year award.

Somers is the Senior Library Information Officer at the Killie Campbell Africana Library, a collection which comprises books, manuscripts and photographs covering an extensive range of historical information about the south east African region and its population.

In her capacity as Collections Preservation Monitor of the Library, Somers visited the Trinity College Library in Dublin in order to gain insight into the methods used for the preservation of important records in the Preservation Conservation Department.

‘It was an interesting behind-the-scenes tour of the preservation conservation practices in the Long Room of the Trinity College Library,’ said Somers. ‘It was fascinating to see the research projects currently being investigated by the Library, such as the investigation into the significance of book structures, analysis of pigments and ink on parchment and manuscripts, and the study of library dust.

Of particular interest to Somers were: the care, handling and storage of rare collections, the technique of cleaning the collections using micro-filtered vacuum cleaning systems and micro-fibre cloths, the basic technique of using cotton tape to secure loose covers and the method of writing a disaster preparedness plan for archives and special collections. Ms Somers also took careful note of the equipment used for monitoring and measuring temperature and relative humidity as well as specific techniques used for setting up displays and exhibitions.

Somers was involved in a community outreach project held on Nelson Mandela’s birthday where a total of 600 library books were distributed to several schools in Durban, highlighting her passion for literacy, learning and the sharing of information.

-          Christine Cuénod

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