Ask a Conservator Day Interview with Beth Doyle

By Katelin Lee posted 11-04-2022 11:59


This #AskaConservator Day, our Executive Director, Lissa Rosenthal-Yoffe, had the opportunity to meet with Beth Doyle, AIC Fellow and Leona B. Carpenter Senior Conservator and Head, Conservation Services Department at Duke University Libraries. Lissa writes, "I enjoyed touring the lab and having a very meaningful conversation about the challenges of the field. We talked about current and challenging economic barriers that persist, with consideration of how we can all budget to support and participate within our entire community of practice from the local and regional levels to our national convenings with AIC. Thanks, Beth!"

How did you first learn about conservation?

I learned about it from my bookbinding instructor in college. She told me about the Columbia program (by then it moved to UT Austin) and suggested I applied. So I did. I got in on my second try.

What’s the question you’re asked most?

What is the oldest thing you have worked on.

What do you think is the most important issue facing the field right now?

OMG, how to choose...I'll choose two. The costs and requirements to enter a graduate conservation program are so high we are effectively discriminating against many lower income people representing more diverse populations that would make great conservators. I couldn't get into any of the current grad programs now.

AIC costs have risen, and the cost-benefit ratio is getting to the point that it is difficult to continue justifying membership. I know this is really complicated, but we need to seriously rethink membership costs, frequency and costs of the conference, and opening up more free opportunities for all members to participate in (e.g. Make the keynote/open session talks at conference online and free to all members).

Photo:  Beth responding to flooded faculty offices (where they store many library books) during Covid.