How Many Paperclips?! Engineering Library preservation and conservation display with contest  

By: Makenzie Coduti

The latest display in the Engineering Library is “Library Preservation and Conservation,” which explains what preservation and conservation are and what those practices might entail in library spaces. The display also briefly describes Penn State University Libraries’ Preservation Conservation and Digitization department. A paperclip removal project in the Engineering Library, completed last year, prompted the creation of this display. “Library Preservation and Conservation” outlines the Engineering Library Paperclip Removal project and why paperclips, especially metal ones, are detrimental to physical collections.

We ran a contest for the students to guess how many paperclips were removed from the general collection at the Engineering Library. We also offered prizes to students and patrons for their participation. First prize was a $50 Amazon gift card and a Libraries’ mug and goodies. Second place was a $20 Amazon gift card and a Libraries’ mug and goodies. The Engineering Library contest ran Oct. 31 to Nov. 23. There were 50 entries with guesses ranging from 700 to 200,000 paperclips. The actual number of paperclips was 9,777. The closest guess was 10,583 paperclips and the 2nd closest guess was 10,604 paperclips. The Engineering Library hopes to run contests like this in the future to prompt more student engagement and student awareness of University Library practices and services.