So much history, so little space
By Jessica on May 31st, 2012
In many ways, the collection here at Scholastic is special. There are not many publishers who keep a collection in quite the way we do. Not only is the archive an asset to the people who work and create at Scholastic, but we are also in some ways a curator of the history of Scholastic . The history of Scholastic just happens to be an integral part of the history of children’s publishing as a whole. As you can see, we take the responsibility of keeping our archive very seriously.
So, how do you manage a collection of 143,000 items that is growing when you start to run out of space? We box them up for archival preservation.
At one time, the library used to keep two copies of every book Scholastic ever printed in our archive. One was called our Archive copy. The archive copy didn’t leave the archive. It was a way to assure that we always had a copy on hand. The second copy was called our Circulating copy. This copy would get checked out to our users in the same way that a library book does in your public or school library.
This created a problem. Our archive is a pair of interconnecting rooms in which we house everything that Scholastic has published over 90 years. That is a lot of books and magazines! We have optimized every square foot of space available to house our ever growing collection. One day this past winter, physics won. We had no more room to house any more books.
What we decided to do is to carefully wrap and box them up. Next the location of each individual book gets input into our library system so that we know exactly which box is the new home of that book. All of those meticulously packed boxes are then sent to an offsite holding facility. This is not like storing things at your parent’s house! This storage facility is climate controlled which means that the temperature and humidity are kept at the perfect level for book preservation.
It may seem like a lot of work to keep the Scholastic archive running smoothly and each piece of the collection preserved in the best way we can. When you are in charge of an expanding piece of history every effort is worth it. We hope you enjoyed your own peek into the care and feeding of our archive. Still have questions? Ask us in the comments.