Tag Archives: staff

Our Students

As the end of the year is drawing to a close (this is our last day before UC’s winter seasonal break when the university is closed until the New Year!!) I find myself looking back at the past year in the lab and thinking of all the things we’ve accomplished, individually and as a team.  I know all of us in the lab consider ourselves very fortunate, our work is fulfilling and interesting and we are continuously surrounded by a great group of dynamic and talented people.  And as the student supervisor for the lab, I have to say, our students have made this year even more stellar.  They’re just the best!  Ask any staff member in the lab and I’m sure they’ll say the same exact thing, we are so lucky to have the group of passionate, energetic, and skilled students that we have working with us.

Each year, instead of the usual departmental pizza party for students, the lab sets aside some time to thank our students and volunteers for everything they do for us by having two days of fun activities for our students and volunteers.  These “fun days” are generally around finals, when the students are reaching the end of the semester and their holiday break, and usually involve activities that tie back into bookbinding/book arts/conservation/etc. somehow.  This year we enjoyed papermaking, pulp painting, explosion books/ornaments and origami boxes.  Our annual “fun days” are just that…fun, not only because we get to watch the students relax and unwind and thank them for all they do, but we always get to learn more about them and connect with them even more.  One of my favorite parts is seeing which students get really into which activities; sometimes it’s fascinating and unexpected, and sometimes it just makes total sense.  But that moment when a student gets to relax and enjoy, after a semester of rigorous schoolwork and general collections repairs, well that’s just the cherry on top!

This year has been extra fulfilling not only because our students are amazing and it is because of them that the bulk of our general collections repairs happen, but also because those warm fuzzy feelings all our staff feel for the students…well, apparently they’re mutual.  For four years now the UC Libraries has been offering an annual UCL Student Worker Scholarship, thanks to generous donations from the faculty and staff at UCL.  This year, we are happy to say, a Preservation Lab student was awarded the scholarship for the second time in four years!  Two years ago it was our student, DJ Davis (who recently graduated earning his MBA….go DJ!), who received the scholarship, and this year it was our student, Stefan Apostoluk!  Stefan is a senior Computer Engineering major who is also working his MBA through the ACCEND program.  I am beyond proud of Stefan!

We actually had two students apply for the scholarship this year, Stefan and our DAAP fine arts student, Alex Phillips.  This isn’t surprising, because in my eyes, all of our students are award worthy.  In fact, our binding student and business major, Drew Eaton, was awarded the Student Quality Service Award in April of this year!  So, our students have been killing it this year; again, that’s no surprise to the staff down here.  They crush it on a daily basis in the lab, but it’s great that they are getting some public attention for it.  What has been immensely fulfilling in writing the scholarship recommendation letters for Alex and Stefan was getting to read their essays on how working in the libraries has inspired them.  They’ve both given me permission to share their sweet words about the lab and our team…

Alex wrote:

“Working for the University’s Preservation Lab has been a dream-come-true.  Ever since I learned that such a job existed, I wanted to be involved…There is a sense of satisfaction with each book that passes through my hands in need of care, and my work feels purposeful.  Not only do I enjoy my work, but my co-workers and mentors have been a great model of what a productive and positive work environment can be.  It is a relief to work in a space where there aren’t constant negative and harmful conversations such as gossip.  The Lab has proven that a positive work environment is not a myth, and I am so grateful.”

Stefan wrote:

“Working at UC Libraries has inspired me to find a job where I fit in and matter. I have the great pleasure of working in the Preservation Lab at Langsam, a place that I’ve come to love dearly in my four years there as a student worker. While the lab is small and has a full-time staff of less than 10, my coworkers are all heartfelt, funny, and interesting people. They are truly what makes my job so special and enjoyable. A few hours at the lab can be enough to turn a miserable day into a good one. Even though doing spine repairs on books and making enclosures is a far cry from software development and project management, I’ve learned some very important things working at UC Libraries. The lab has taught me about the importance of work culture, of loving where you work, and of loving who you work with. Wherever I end up working in the next year after I graduate from UC, I know it’ll need to be some place I love.”

It doesn’t get much better than that, right?  If that doesn’t make you feel like you are doing something right and are one of the lucky ones, I don’t know what would.  And darn it, if it doesn’t make me appreciate those students, volunteers, and staff that I get to call team members even more!  A big thank you to our entire team, for all the amazing work you have done this year and for your enthusiasm, personality, and dedication!


Students –

  • Stefan Apostoluk
  • DJ Davis
  • Drew Eaton
  • Evelyn Mendoza
  • Brad Miller
  • Alex Phillips

Volunteers –

  • Joan Konecny
  • Lucy Schultz
  • Jeanne Taylor
  • Alex Temple

Staff –

  • Jessica Ebert, Conservation Tech
  • Catarina Figueirinhas, Sr. Conservation Tech
  • Holly Prochaska, Preservation Librarian & Co-Manager
  • Ashleigh Schieszer, Conservator & Co-Manager
  • Veronica Sorcher, Conservation Tech
  • Hyacinth Tucker, Binding Processor
  • Chris Voynovich, Conservation Tech

Here are some more pictures from the papermaking portion of our student/volunteer appreciation days…

You can also watch a brief video on the beating process of papermaking on our UCL MediaSpace channel, here.

Happy Holidays from the Preservation Lab!

Jessica Ebert (UCL) – Conservation Technician [and the very fortunate student supervisor]


Student and Volunteer “Fun Day”!

Our student assistants and volunteers are a dedicated, hardworking group of individuals and they are invaluable to the Lab. They are constantly learning new treatments, expanding their preservation knowledge, and helping our Lab move forward and treat general collection items. For the students, this means they do all this while going to school full-time at the University of Cincinnati. So, every year we like to pick a day or two around the holidays to celebrate our students and volunteers and say “thank you” by treating them to a little bit of preservation-related fun. We appropriately call these our “student/volunteer fun days”.

We always pick an activity that will be enjoyable for the students/volunteers, but also benefit the Lab in some way. In the past this has included paste paper and paper marbling. For both we asked everyone to donate a portion of their papers to the Lab for our supply. This year for “fun day” we decided to demonstrate and create a selection of book structures with the idea that the people could expand their conservation skills and learn new techniques, and afterward the Lab would have a selection of models of the various structures.

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Adhesive Man!

Many times as I am performing tasks at the bench I begin to concentrate deeply on the materials, the tools, the work itself or a number of related subjects. Sometimes my imagination kicks in and I go to a completely weird place inside my head… One time I was removing the adhesive beneath a failed scotch tape repair and I began to roll the adhesive, testing its elasticity between my fingers before discarding it into a pile. I thought to myself, “this stuff has potential” and “it seems to have a life of its own”. Well, as I carefully stacked the discarded adhesive balls, they began to take shape… That was the beginning of Adhesive Man. I am strangely confident he will make future appearances around the Lab.

Adhesive Man_blog1

Chris Voynovich (PLCH) —- Conservation Technician

And now, for something really amazing…students and volunteers!

Our Preservation Lab has, for many years had the help of some unsung heroes in the form of our student assistants and volunteers.  Although we appreciate them very much, they rarely get the attention that they deserve.  As the student supervisor for Preservation Services it has been my job to interview, hire, and train our student assistants.  When I interview prospective candidates, I usually look for two basic things, one being on time, and the other being appropriately dressed.  The rest is just instinct and gut feeling.  Our department has been extremely fortunate in the high caliber of student assistants who have worked for us but sometimes it’s obvious that the applicant would not be a good fit.  A few years ago we had a candidate who arrived wearing a barbed wire belt and who asked if it was okay if he sometimes came to work bruised and bleeding, since his hobby was ultimate fighting.  Even though the applicant seemed like a nice guy, it was not okay.

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Meet the collaborative lab’s new conservator!

There’s a new face in the Lab these days. Ashleigh Schieszer (pronounced She-zer), our new Conservator and Lab Manager, arrived last week. She hit the ground running just a few days after moving to Cincinnati from Los Angeles, California where she was completing her internship at the Huntington Library. Somehow, though, in the midst of the orientation sessions, getting to know her way around the Lab and meetings with managers and colleagues she found time to sit down for an interview with me.

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Bring your talent with you.

What I love about the human race is we can have very similar characteristics or some really, really different ones. Like all the different colors out there or all the different smells, we all have something unique to bring to the table. I am happy to say here at our lab we are sure a mixed bunch of characters.

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