Columbia Librarian Receives American Library Association Preservation Award

NEW YORK, February 28, 2008 Janet Gertz, director of the Preservation & Digital Conversion Division at Columbia University Libraries, is the winner of the 2008 Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris Preservation Award. The award will be presented on Sunday, June 29, 2008, at the ALCTS Awards Ceremony during the 2008 American Library Association (ALA) meeting in Anaheim, CA.


The award, consisting of $1,500 and a citation, sponsored by Preservation Technologies, L. P., recognizes the contribution of a professional preservation specialist who has been active in the field of preservation and/or conservation for library and /or archival materials.

Janet Gertz is the Director of the Preservation & Digital Conversion Division, a post she has held since 1988. Before joining Columbia in 1988, Janet was Special Collections Librarian/Humanities Cataloger at Pennsylvania State University Libraries. She is an Adjunct Professor at the Palmer School of Library and Information Science at Long Island University, where she teaches “Introduction to Preservation.”

Janet has been a member of ALA/ALCTS/PARS since 1983. In addition, she has served as Chair of PARS (1993-94), and served as Chair, or Co-Chair of ten ALA committees, discussion groups and task forces and was a member of several more. She has also served on committees and panels for the Center for Research Libraries, the Commission on Preservation and Access, the Digital Library Federation, the Northeast Document Conservation Center, the OCLC Digital and Preservation Cooperative Charter, the Society of American Archivists, and the Southeastern Library Network. She has served on several committees since 1989 for the Research Libraries Group.

She is a frequently sought after presenter in a variety of forums throughout the United States and Europe. In a letter submitted by her nominators, Emily Holmes, assistant director of the Preservation department at Columbia University Libraries, noted “One of Janet’s greatest attributes is her ability to speak with authority on a wide variety of preservation related topics. Her C.V. lists forty presentations on topics as varied as the preservation of local history collections, to disaster recovery, to metadata for digital preservation.”

“In her two decades working in library preservation, Janet has successfully maintained preservation’s traditional values and practices. While doing this, she has not only adapted to changes within our profession, but has often been at the forefront of new developments,” continued the letter.

The Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris Preservation Award honors the memories of Paul Banks and Carolyn Harris, early leaders in library preservation, teachers, and mentors for many in the field of preservation.

The Association for Library Collections & Technical Services (ALCTS) is the national association for information providers who work in collections and technical services. Areas of concentration of ALCTS members include acquisition, cataloging, collection development, preservation, and archiving of all library materials in all formats as well as serial collection management.

ALCTS is a division of the American Library Association.

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 9.8 million volumes, over 100,000 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, and other nonprint formats. The collections and services are organized into 25 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines. Columbia Libraries employs more than 400 professional and support staff to assist faculty, students, and researchers in their academic endeavors. The Libraries’ website at is a gateway to its print and electronic collections and to its services.

02/28/08 LMK