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University of Iowa News Release

March 27, 2006

Frost Receives National Honor For Achievements In Book Preservation

Gary Frost, conservator in the University of Iowa Libraries' preservation department, has been honored by the American Library Association for more than 35 years of strong and consistent leadership in the field of conservation and preservation.

Frost will receive the prestigious Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris Preservation Award, presented by the ALA's Association for Library Collections and Technical Services division, during the ALA's annual meeting in New Orleans on June 25.

"I'm very pleased that Gary is receiving this most deserved honor," said Nancy L. Baker, university librarian. "What is most impressive is Gary's ability to inspire others to utilize their skills for the benefit of book conservation and libraries. A common theme that runs throughout his work is the desire to build a community and provide opportunities for interchange between book workers, book suppliers and book learners. His energy and enthusiasm for book conservation is contagious and re-energizes those around him."  

"I've watched Gary work with colleagues to develop and design equipment, mentor students and participate in blogs and other discussions," says Nancy E. Kraft, head of the preservation department. "He is always pushing, cajoling, prodding and challenging those around him to think outside the box, to try new things, to utilize the best of their skills in new and different ways."

Since 1972, Frost has taught and mentored students, first at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, then at the Columbia University Preservation/Conservation training program, the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Texas, and currently at the University of Iowa School of Library and Information Science and University of Iowa Center for the Book.

Frost has made numerous contributions to the field of book conservation through his writings ranging from his practical short treatments on topics such as book repair and salvage to his current Weblog, www.futureofthebook.com. His clean, clear illustrations that accompany his work are widely recognized and appear in works such as the "Library Binding Institute Standard for Library Binding."

Kraft said that in 1983 he was instrumental in establishing the Paper & Book Intensive summer institute, serving as co-director for 10 years. In 1988 he co-founded BookLab Inc the first successful book conservation studio geared to mass market in the private sector. While at the BookLab he developed a reasonably priced cloth for rebacking nineteenth century publisher's bindings.

Since Frost's arrival at the UI in 1999, he has continued to pursue the use of cut-away models of conservation book structures for study and expanded University of Iowa's bookbinding model collection by making it web-accessible and soliciting new donations. He has also developed a simple, affordable Ethiopian binding kit for students to sew a book model of one of earliest binding techniques. Frost assisted in the disaster response to the Old Capitol fire in November 2001. In September 2005 he was a member of the first mobile unit to help address cultural document damage by Hurricane Katrina, an effort supported by the American Institute for Conservation and the American Association of State and Local History. He is continuing his efforts to preserve historical documents damaged by Hurricane Katrina, starting with documents and manuscripts from the Jefferson Davis Library in Biloxi, Miss., and the Biloxi Public Library.

Kraft said Frost is also noted for his innovative workshop presentations and his engaging publications that stimulate both book artists and conservation practitioners. Most recently he instigated a conference called "The Changing Book" in 2005 that brought together scholars, practitioners, technicians, craftspeople and artists for generative exchange on the destiny of the book in a digital era.

The Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris Preservation Award honors the memories of the two early leaders in library preservation. The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) is the national association for information providers who work in collections, preservation and technical services. Areas of concentration of ALCTS members include acquisition, cataloging, collection development, preservation and serials in all formats.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 371, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Tom Snee, 319-384-0010, tom-snee@uiowa.edu.