PRESERVATION OFFICE NEWS
I was going to take you all on a trip into my brain this month, hoping to
dig up some information on compact discs. ...But, I've just had a massive
migraine, and my brain isn't a pretty sight right now.
Instead: "FOOD CONSUMPTION in the Libraries." Erich is going to bore
us with that topic again. Does he ever eat? Do I look like I eat? Did
you know there is nothing worse than telling a person they can't eat? Peo-
ple take it personally. Never mind, this is a library, not a restaurant. "Boy,
will those patrons never learn?"
The "battle" with patrons has become a depressing morale problem for me.
Rather than lay the whole depressing mess out in words, let me set forth
my concerns by sharing Preservation Office policy.
Whenever possible, Preservation Office parties will be held in the staff
* Rationale: The lounge was designed for food and drink consumption.
Theoretically, clean-up is monitored by cleaning staff. If either insects were
attracted or clean-up did not occur, insects would gather in a location they
might otherwise be attracted to anyway.
Consumption of food and drink is allowed in the Preservation Office only
during parties organized by the Office.
+ Rationale: It was found that clean-up was not consistent if not monitored.
Food and drink containers would go into and remain in trash receptacles
and remain there overnight, attracting insects. Monitoring of clean-up
seemed to work only after parties.
* Rationale: Regular food consumption in the work-place implied that we
could do what we were telling library patrons not to.
Whenever food or drink MUST be brought into the library (i.e., for an orga-
nized and monitored party, or as a lunch to be consumed elsewhere), it
MUST be concealed.
* Rationale: We could not effectively ask patrons not to bring food and
drink into the library when it was obvious that we were doing so. As I
make my rounds, nights, asking patrons to remove themselves and their
drinks from the library, I am often told something to the effect of: "Why
should I? They drink at the circulation desk and down there (pointing to-
ward the glass doors of the Acquisitions Department) all the time."
- True or not, Circulation and Acquisitions, like Preservation, are now in
public view. Whether we clean-up or not, it only takes one patron seeing
one employee bring a drink back from lunch to destroy effort to limit insect
populations through food and drink control.
Whenever there is a party, a central trash receptacle will be provided for
disposal of cups, plates, etc. which have come into contact with food or
drink. One person will be assigned to monitor clean-up and dispose of re-
ceptacle contents, outside, immediately following the party.
* Rationale: Library cleaning staff do not remove trash until the morning of
the next workday. This means that trash remains in the library overnight,
and that Friday's trash remains until Monday morning. Insects, such as
cockroaches, are most active at night. When we remove the trash ourselves,
we remove this danger.
Parties will be held during limited periods of the shortest duration possible.
+ Rationale: The longer food and drink remains open, the longer its smell
lingers. The longer the period, the greater the chance of attracting insects.
Nothing should be left unsealed over night.
+ Rationale: Out of the patron's sight is not always out of the patron's
mind. Books don't smell like coffee, hamburgers, french fries, pizza, or pop
corn; but I've smelled these many times in the libraries coming from staff
work-places. If I can smell them, a patron can; and that can destroy effort
to limit insect populations through food control.
Note: Some insects may have a better sense of smell than we do. A cake
which has no smell to me might smell like fresh apple pie to an insect.
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Note: Certain dry foods (e.g., tea, cookies, candy) that one stores at
one's desk for consumption elsewhere may also attract insects if not
tightly sealed. We recommend that, once opened, such things be stored
in a tight sealing tin or plastic container.
Washing of hands is recommended before returning to one's work after
food or drink consumption.
* Rationale: Food oils, etc. are transferred to library materials. These oils
can advance the deterioration of microfilm, audio-tapes, and computer
discs. In addition, on paper and bookcloth they can provide a surface
suitable for mold spores to establish themselves. In the many cases
we've seen of mold on microfilm, all have taken the shape of fingerprints.
On books, the same is often true.
Until we library staff begin to conform to sensible and consistent food
and drink policies, all that the patrons hear me say is: "Do as I say, not as
I do." Examples of bug eaten books cannot and will not convince them.