By ERIN ALLEN
The recent opening of the Library’s Packard Campus for Audio-Visual Conservation in Culpeper, Va., a 415,000-square-foot facility that will house nearly six million audiovisual treasures from the Library’s Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division, continued to make headlines throughout September. (See Information Bulletin, July/August 2007.)
The Los Angeles Times featured an article on the myriad movies and sound recordings housed at the Packard Campus, including the original negatives of “Gone With the Wind” and “Casablanca” and a copy of “The Great Train Robbery,” one of the earliest films ever made.
“I’m rediscovering film history through material that’s been unseen for decades,” said Gregory Lukow, chief of the division, who was interviewed for the story. “This facility will allow us to preserve them and make them accessible to the public at a faster rate than ever before.”
An article by Emily Yehle of Roll Call talked about the facility, its employees and the conservation work they will be doing.
“The 415,000-square-foot facility is an impressive mix of past and future—it feels like a version of Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, with chemical vats and mega-computers instead of chocolate lakes and lickable wallpaper,” she said. “The real technology is in the facility’s conservation and preservation rooms,” Yehle added.
Andrea Hsu of NPR’s “All Things Considered” gave a general overview of the conservation center and spoke with Lukow and Allan McConnell, head of the audio and video presentation library.
Lukow said that preservation is at the heart of operations because many of the items that are there would disintegrate if not handled properly.
“We’re finding some of these older records had much more musical information recorded on them than we were getting off before. Now, we’re able to hear that and do a much better job of getting the full LP record,” said McConnell of his division’s preservation efforts.
In its September issue, American Libraries reported that the Library was entering a new era in audiovisual conservation with the construction of the Packard Campus, citing such statistics as the production of approximately two petabytes of digital content in its first year of operation.
Other outlets running stories were the Culpeper Star-Exponent, Windsor Star in Ontario, the Hollywood Reporter, San Jose Mercury News and Web sites Bloomberg.com and metroactive.com.
Media attention was also focused on a related story—the Library’s recent acquisition of the WWOZ Crescent City Living Legends Collection. Comprising more than 7,000 hours of live jazz and blues recordings from WWOZ-FM radio station in New Orleans, La., the collection will be stored and preserved at the Packard Campus. The GRAMMY Foundation® supported the gift by awarding the radio station a $45,000 grant to help preserve the collection. The donation came after floodwaters from Hurricane Katrina nearly destroyed the station’s primary tape storage facility. Featuring the announcement were the Associated Press, UPI, International Herald Tribune, Roll Call, Radio World, The China Post and Louisiana outlets the Times-Picayune in New Orleans, Lafayette news channel KATC-Ch. 3 and New Orleans CityBusiness.
The Library’s digital preservation efforts were another topic covered in the September issue of American Libraries. The article highlighted the Library’s Aug. 3 announcement of eight partnerships as part of its new Preserving Creative America initiative to address the long-term preservation of creative content in digital form. (See Information Bulletin, September 2007.) These partners will target preservation issues across a broad range of creative works, including digital photographs, cartoons, motion pictures, sound recordings and video games.
Erin Allen is a writer-editor in the Library’s Public Affairs Office.