52nd Annual Preconference of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section 2011 RBMS Preconference

Jun. 21, - Jun. 24, 2011
Location: Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center Baton Rouge, Louisiana


Since 1959, RBMS has held an annual preconference in conjunction with the ALA annual conference:

See also the Conference Development Committee Manual, which contains scheduling and other information relating to upcoming and past RBMS preconferences.

2011 RBMS Preconference

The 52nd Annual Preconference of the Rare Books and Manuscripts Section will be held in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tuesday, June 21 through Friday, June 24, 2011. The theme of the preconference is “In the Hurricane's Eye: Challenges of Collecting in the 21st Century.” In addition to plenary sessions, a variety of case studies, discussion groups, and seminars will be offered, as well as tours and workshops.

The preconference hotel will be the Hilton Baton Rouge Capitol Center, a five-star hotel located in downtown Baton Rouge. Reservations are not yet being accepted, but the preconference rate will be $139 per night, single or double. Dormitory accommodations on the Louisiana State University campus will also be available. The Baton Rouge Metro Airport (BTR) is served by American, Continental, Delta, and US Airways. For those going on to the ALA Annual Conference, flying into Baton Rouge and out of New Orleans will be an economical option, as there is no public transport available from the New Orleans airport to Baton Rouge. Bus transportation will be offered for a fee for those going on to the ALA Annual Conference in New Orleans.

Questions? For Local Arrangements, contact Elaine Smyth, smyth@lsu.edu. For programming, contact Steven Smith, stevensmith@library.tamu.edu.

Preconference Theme:

In the last several years special collections and archives have assumed a new and more prominent role within our larger host institutions as well as in the wider library community. Once perceived as peripheral to core library services, our collections are now viewed as central. Despite – or perhaps because of – this centrality, we face a perfect storm of increasing needs in a time of decreasing support. How can we keep building and providing effective access to collections that will remain central in the future, fulfilling our obligation to provide stewardship of the cultural record?

While we continue to collect a multiplicity of formats from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries – with the attendant issues of physical storage space, preservation, and access – the twenty-first century offers a new set of evolving challenges. Demographics in the United States and elsewhere are shifting dramatically, and human use of digital technologies is changing what makes up the historical record, in both format and content. How do we capture records of the evanescent “now” without abandoning the documentation needs of the recent past?

Engaging attendees using a variety of session formats, the 2011 Preconference will present current work in the profession, both theoretical and practical, that can be used for modeling possible solutions to such challenges. The spectrum of issues that we will consider includes negotiating collection development for digital collections, collecting across cultural divides, generating buy-in and support from our proliferating audiences, and considering how “uniqueness” and artifactual value will change in an age of born-digital objects.