Jennifer Jarvis joined the Columbia University Libraries as Mellon Conservator for Special Collections this month. She comes to Columbia with substantial experience in treating rare books and special collections, most recently at the University of Ulster in Derry, Northern Ireland, where she served as Project Director and Chief Conservator for the Derry and Raphoe Diocesan Library Project since 2008. Prior to that, she was Project Conservator at the Whitworth Art Gallery in Manchester. As both a graduate of the bookbinding program at the North Bennet Street School in Boston, and the recipient of an M.A. in Conservation of Books and Library Materials from West Dean College in West Sussex, England, Jarvis has particular expertise in non-invasive treatments for rare books.
As the first Mellon Conservator in Columbia’s Conservation Laboratory, Jarvis will join Columbia’s team of conservators in performing complex treatments on rare books, manuscripts, prints, and drawings from all of the Libraries’ special collections, as well as carrying out research to identify causes of condition problems and to answer questions pertinent to the study of the collections as physical objects. In addition to training student interns from graduate programs in conservation, beginning in 2012, she and the other Columbia conservators will teach a new generation of library and archives conservators in classes offered through a partnership with the Conservation Center of New York University’s Institute of Fine Arts.
"It's exciting to be part of an institution with such a prestigious history in book conservation like Columbia,” Jarvis said. “I'm looking forward to working with the different libraries and their special collections materials. I'm very grateful to both the Mellon Foundation and Columbia for this opportunity."
This new conservator position has been created through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, which has awarded the Columbia University Libraries $1,250,000 million to establish an endowment. Columbia is in the midst of raising $1 million to match the grant endowing the position.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 11 million volumes, over 150,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, and graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 500 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.