On-Demand Webinar - Best of Core Forum: Preservation as a Service; Applying a Customer-focused Framework while Caring for our Collections

Description: You’ve heard of the reference interview; this session introduces the Preservation Dialogue. Preservation departments, and other technical service units, are typically not considered “public-facing” despite having a broad impact on how library users engage with collections and collections spaces. These highly specialized units frequently need to communicate effectively with other library departments who act as internal “customers,” as well as a variety of external stakeholders such as potential donors, researchers, and institutions and private individuals seeking expertise. The Preservation Dialogue adapts the principles of the Reference and User Services Association (RUSA) reference interview framework and the University of Illinois Library developed GREAT customer service model improve communication in preservation-specific contexts when dealing with both internal and external stakeholders. This focus on a two-way dialogue allows for smoother collaboration to find common ground and break down silos. Attendees will learn how to effectively meet stakeholder needs, advocate for collections preservation, and manage expectations while balancing best practices with the realities of budgets, staffing, and policies. This session is aimed at preservation staff, but the information is also applicable to other technical services workflows.

This webinar was previously presented in-person as a session at the 2023 Core Forum. We are hosting this webinar, with the session adapted and presented live as a virtual event, to extend its reach.

Learning Outcomes: 

At the end of this webinar, attendees will be able to:

  • Analyze scenarios within their own work in which they need to communicate specialized preservation knowledge colleagues, collaborators, and stakeholders;
  • Employ the preservation dialogue method in their everyday work to create and maintain effective working relationships with internal and external stakeholders; and
  • Effectively advocate for cultural heritage preservation within their institution and throughout the broader community.

Who Should Attend: Primarily preservation positions, but the principles also apply to other technical services units such as cataloging and IT.


William Schlaack (he/him) has worked in libraries since his first job in high school as a page at his local public library. He discovered his passion for preservation while working in archives during his senior year of college, leading him to attend the University of Illinois. As a graduate assistant he explored more aspects of preservation. William now works full time at the University of Illinois and oversees large scale digitization and reformatting projects, including working with the National Digital Newspaper Program, Internet Archive, and HathiTrust.

Shelby Strommer
(she/her) is the Collections Care Coordinator at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign Library. She holds of Master of Science in Information, with a specialization in Preservation of Information, from the University of Michigan. She is also a member of the National Heritage Responders, a volunteer group of professionals who provide support to cultural heritage institutions during emergencies and disaster recovery.

Tech Requirements

Core Webinars are held in Zoom. Speakers or a headset for listening to the presentation are required. Closed captioning is available in the Zoom platform.