Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee
Middletown Library Service Center
March 22, 2006
Members Present: State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; Administrative Services Director Richard Kingston, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Theresa Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Patti Strauss, Westport Town Clerk
Members Absent: Grants Manager Sheila Mosman, CSL; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Karen L. Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Sandra Hutton Russo, Middletown Town Clerk; Catherine S. Nurmi, Sterling Town Clerk
Others Present: LeAnn Johnson, CSL; Bruce Stark, CSL, Lizette Pelletier, Archival Consultant; Kathryn Makover, CSL
I. The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:05 p.m.
II. The State Librarian welcomed everyone to the meeting. He stated he would have to leave the meeting at around 2:00 due to another commitment. There were no introductions.
III. The minutes of the October 19th meeting were approved as written.
IV. Fiscal Report: Richard Kingston reported on the fiscal status of the fund. The program has reached a balanced operating budget where it spends approximately as much as it takes in.
V. Old Business
1. There was a problem with a town that filed an expenditure report for an FY2005 grant stating that the project was completed. However, after the September deadline, the vendor for the project called the Public Records Administrator and asked if the project could be changed because the project had not been completed due to a situation beyond the town’s control. Because the request was not made prior to the filing of the expenditure report, the town had to return the funds for the uncompleted portion of the project and file a new expenditure report. The Public Records Administrator reminded the Town Clerks that it is the towns’ responsibility to be aware of what is happening with the vendors on their grant projects.
2. FY2007 Grants
a. LeAnn Johnson reported that she has received 12 applications to date for Cycle 1 targeted grants.
b. The Attorney General’s office is reviewing all the grant forms and the contract language. Towns should use the forms they received in the grant packets unless the staff informs them otherwise.
3. Competitive Grants:
a. LeAnn distributed a list of the eleven towns that submitted interim competitive grant applications. The Public Records Administrator is very pleased that so many applied this first time given the short preparation time between the distribution of the guidelines and the first submission deadline. Next year, the application materials will be available in the Fall to give towns more time to develop their projects.
The staff thoroughly reviewed the grants against the survey report recommendations. LeAnn gave each applicant a detailed report with suggestions for improvement. Because this was the first round of competitive grants, the staff was able to give greater attention to the applications. This will not be possible in future rounds. March 31st is the final deadline for the revised applications. The independent reviews will get the applications on April 11th.
b. Forty-five individuals attended the competitive grant training session held during January 2006 at the Van Block facility. The attendees included eligible towns as well as those clerks and officials seeking information on the program even though they were not eligible in this round. The committee members who attended found the sessions very helpful.
A discussion ensued as to why more eligible towns did not apply for a competitive project. In addition to the short time to prepare a grant this year, once the materials were distributed and the training held, a number of eligible towns have new clerks or clerks that will be retiring soon. The new clerks need to get up to speed on the grant program in general before they feel comfortable applying for a competitive grant. It also takes time to bring other departments and officials on board to support a complex detailed project.
The committee discussed the role of the Town Clerks’ Association’s mentoring program. Established town clerks should walk the new clerks through the filing and reporting procedures as they occur. The grant staff sends out a packet of grant information to the new clerks when it learns about new clerks. It tries to keep its list of clerks up-to-date but requested that the Town Clerks’ Association notify the staff of any changes since the Secretary of State’s list is not always current.
c. Carla Pomprowicz asked if the amount of competitive grant funding would be increased for next year. The Public Records Administrator and the State Librarian usually make that decision after the end of the current fiscal year. In addition, there is a limited number of records management and archival management consultants available for the amount of work requested. The staff is working to expand the list. All these factors will be taken into consideration when the next year’s funding levels are determined.
1. The Public Records Administrator and the grant staff will present an hour long session on Friday at the Town Clerk’s Conference. They will discuss the grant program, focusing on areas of need such as the project deadlines and expenditure reports.
2. The next Town Clerks workshop will be held on June 8th at the Keeney Memorial Center in Old Wethersfield. Seating is limited to 100 people. Lori Foley from NEDCC, Jane Cullinane from the State Library and Patricia Ford from the Image Permanence Institute (IPI) will be discussing prioritizing preservation needs, proper preservation techniques and environmental monitoring and control from a preservation perspective. Registration materials will be mailed in April.
3. The Connecticut and Ocean State Chapters of ARMA will be hosting a workshop by Dr. Mark Langemo at their joint meeting on May 16, 2006 at the Foxwoods Casino in Ledyard. Town Clerks who have not previously attended a seminar by Dr. Langemo are encouraged to attend. Local preservation funds may be used for the registration fee. For additional information, see the posting on the Town Clerks’ website.
C. Committee Membership: The committee still needs to find a replacements for Barbara Breor, Goshen. Linda Amerighi, Sharon, was suggested as well as Darlene Brady, Kent. LeAnn will make the inquiries. The staff will also check the attendance policy established earlier. [The State Librarian left the meeting at this time.]
D. The State Library staff made brief reports on the State Library’s current preservation activities.
1. March 31, 2007 is the new date for the delivery to the State Library of the next two completed volumes of the Public Records of the State of Connecticut for printing and distribution. At that time, the State Library shall receive the camera ready copy from the project editor. The next step will be to go out to bid to find a printer. The State Archivist and the editor will be meeting in June to discuss the next volume covering 1820-1821. New technologies will likely change the way the remaining volumes up to 1846 are edited and published.
2. The project to make new negatives, new copy prints and scanned images of the 1934 aerial photographs of Connecticut is on schedule. To date, 6,990 sets (out of 8,750) have been created and inspected for quality. The copy prints are now available for public use. The last batch of photographs will go to the vendor at the end of March, and will be available for public use by the end of June.
In addition, work is progressing to find the latitude and longitude of the center of each photograph. Almost 60% of the photographs now have a known center point. This time-consuming work is crucial to making the photographs available online via Geographic Information Systems software. GIS software is what drives the popular maps on services such as Google™ and MapQuest®.
3. The New London County Court Records is reaching an end. The records have all been processed and arranged, mostly by summer workers and non-professional staff. About 70 more boxes have to be examined to correct errors; take notes on major subjects represented for the finding aid; and to list all cases involving people of color from New London County. Once these tasks are completed then final work can be undertaken to complete the finding aids.
The Assistant State Archivist has completed about half of the Preston Town Records. The boxes, consisting of approximately 16 boxes of loose papers, are examined and the papers placed in series, generally chronologically by subject. The subjects include Treasurer Bills, poor relief correspondence, justice of the peace writs, etc.
Work is at the early stages of an approximately two-year project to produce a guide for all church records in the State Archives. The project will bring together records found in RG 000, Classified Archives; RG 070, Church Records; RG 062, Town and Borough Governments; and RG 069, Manuscript Collections. The records of the Town of Preston, for example, contain First Ecclesiastical Society materials.
E. The committee tentatively scheduled its next two meetings, for June 21 and October 11, 2006. If the Middletown facility is not available, the committee agreed to meet at the Library’s Van Block facility.
F. Vault regulations: The National Fire Protection Association is in the process of issuing revisions to Standard 232 upon which Connecticut’s regulations depend heavily. The new revisions are scheduled for release in August. Once they are released, the staff will make the necessary adaptations given that our vaults are public spaces, and with regard to preservation issues, such as environmental controls. Because these are formal regulations, there must be greater attention to the details.
VI. New Business
A. The Public Records Administrator has become aware of issues regarding electronic indexes to the land records. Apparently, some towns were not printing out the indexes on a regular and reasonable basis (i.e. more than once a year). The staff is preparing a general letter to clarify the statutory requirements for updating land record indices.
B. The cost of microfilming maps and land records has become an issue for some finance boards. The Public Records Administrator is writing a letter to outline the regulatory requirements and other reasons for properly backing up these critical records.
VII. The Public Records Administrator adjourned the meeting at 2:45 p.m.
VIII. The next meeting is scheduled for June 21, 2006 at the Van Block Facility.
Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
March 22, 2006