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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Middletown Library Service Center September 22, 2004


Members Present: Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; Fiscal Administrator Richard Kingston, CSL; Grants Manager Sheila Mosman, CSL; Grants Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Sandra Hutton, Middletown Town Clerk; Karen L. Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Catherine S. Nurmi, Sterling Town Clerk; Theresa Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Patti Strauss, Westport Town Clerk.

Members Absent: State Librarian Kendall Wiggin; Barbara Breor, Goshen Town Clerk; Joan Gerdsen, Mansfield Town Clerk; Cindy Ladwig, Stonington Town Clerk; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk.

Others Present: LeAnn Johnson, CSL; Bruce Stark, CSL, Debra Pond, CSL, Lizette Pelletier, Archival Consultant

I. The Public Records Administrator called the meeting to order at 1:09 p.m.

II. The Public Records Administrator welcomed everyone to the meeting as the State Librarian was unable to attend due to a meeting in Ohio. The Public Records Administrator introduced Archivist Debra Pond from the Court Records Project to the members.

III. The minutes of the April 7th meeting were approved as written.

IV. Fiscal Report: Richard Kingston distributed the fiscal report dated July 2000 through August 2004. He noted that revenues are currently down by approximately twenty percent from last year. The actual figure may be less because one municipality is substantially in arrears for its filings. The Business Office and the Public Records Administrator are working to get the town into compliance. The town clerks agreed that individually they were seeing about a sixteen percent reduction in filings.

V. Old Business

A. Workshops and Training:

1. The Public Records and Grant staff presented the records management module for the Town Clerk's school on May 13th. The Public Records Administrator participated in the electronic recording session on May 14th. The December school will focus on elections and possibly communications.

2. The Grant Staff is finalizing a grant writing presentation for possible use at the county level meetings or the town clerk's conference. The sessions would begin after the next set of guidelines is issued in February.

3. There was no workshop offered this fall due to the heavy demands of the Presidential elections. The Public Records Administrator requested suggestions for a spring workshop in June 2005. She had hoped to offer something on environmental control and the new vault regulations, but Nick Artim, the fire safety consultant hired to review the current regulations, has not submitted his recommendations. Possible other topics might be an area of records management or repeating one of the earlier workshops. The Public Records Administrator and LeAnn Johnson will be attending the national ARMA meeting in October. They will be looking for possible speakers and topics. Anyone with a topic or speaker suggestions should contact the Public Records Administrator.

B. State Library Projects

1. Preservation Office:

a. Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane reported that the specifications for new negatives and user prints for the 1934 Aerial Survey are complete. The State Library has begun the bid process. She is in the process of hiring a Librarian to oversee the project and conduct quality control.

b. She also attended a five-day seminar on image permanence sponsored by the Rochester Institute of Technology. Film companies are no longer supporting any research and development for film. Production of specialty films has virtually ceased. Commercial photographers and filmmakers are now exclusively using digital photography. It is possible that microfilm and film for general amateur use could disappear within five to ten years, but for now it is thought there is enough demand in the market to keep microfilm in production. The implications for archival preservation are just beginning to be examined.

2. The Public Records of the State of Connecticut project continues to make progress towards its anticipated 2005 publication date.

3. Court Records Project:

a. The State Archivist reported that the State Library hired a consultant from NEDCC to examine the court records and make recommendations regarding their handling. The report is due on September 30th. The NHPRC has approved a grant extension. This project is the largest reboxing and relocation effort at the State Library since the move from 80 Washington Street to the Van Block facility. The area at the 231 Capitol Avenue building that formerly housed the records is being cleaned and will be converted to a map reading room. The records will be transferred to the Van Block facility.

b. Bruce Stark, Project Director, and Debra Pond, Project Archivist, reported on the Court Records Project. Processing of the New London county files is complete. Litchfield County will be completed shortly. They are now working on finding aids for each county as well as specialized guides for records concerning African Americans and Native Americans as well as the Papers by Subject. Debra Pond is also developing databases for the African American and Native American files. The project has uncovered many interesting cases that have attracted the attention of at least two researchers.

4. The Public Records Administrator is awaiting the draft of the revised vault regulations from fire safety consultant Nick Artim.

5. Lizette Pelletier is in the process of getting archival equipment and supplies placed on state contract. She distributed a list of items to be submitted to the State Purchasing Unit for developing the bid specifications.

C. Grants

1. LeAnn Johnson reported that all FY 2004 grantees submitted their final reports on time.

2. FY 2005 grants.

a. The State Library awarded 106 grants for a total of $916,156.

b. Twenty-eight towns have submitted their applications for Cycle 2. LeAnn distributed a list of the towns that have not submitted applications.

D. The Public Records Administrator distributed a copy of the statistical study by John Mitrano of the Center for Public Policy and Social Research at CCSU. It included three possible formulas for distributing the grant funds based on population, number of filings and median income. Based on these formulas, up to 90 towns would lose the amount of funding that they currently receive. The committee decided to keep the distribution as it currently is for the next grant cycle. Administratively it would be too complex to manage. Alternatives might be to increase the categories to five or six, with a smaller dollar increment between the levels. The Public Records Administrator will invite Mr. Mitrano to the next meeting to discuss the methodology that he used to develop the formulas and to discuss developing something less complicated.

E. The Public Records Administrator asked that the county level vice presidents for the Town Clerks Association inform the town clerks that they should not sign any document from ACS that contained the following statement: "If pages in the original volumes are stained or are of weak contrast, it shall be your responsibility to re-type these pages so that a successful security film cam be made." It is the vendor's responsibility to produce film that provides the proper contrast for a good image. The information will also be posted on the website.

F. The grant staff reminded the town clerks that grantees must have the letter of notification or wait until August 1st to send work off to vendors. Any work done outside the contract period is ineligible for grant funding.

G. The field archivist position has been approved by OPM. The Public Records Administrator hoped to fill the position as soon as possible. Unfortunately, the delay will require that the competitive grant start date be pushed back to January 2006. The Town Clerk Association president, Sandra Hutton strongly expressed her disappointment in the delay. The Public Records Administrator requested that the committee members submit recommendations regarding the first areas or grant categories that the program could address.

H. Other

1. The September legislative report has been sent to the Joint Standing Committee on Government Administration. This report covers preservation activities at the State Library for the previous fiscal year. The committee received a copy in their meeting folders.

2. As Joan Gerdsen was unable to attend the meeting, discussion on historical maps and the UConn MAGIC program was tabled to a later date.

3. The electronic land records bill died during the last session. It will be reintroduced when the legislature reconvenes in January.

VI. New Business

A. The Public Records Administrator expressed her concern regarding meeting schedule conflicts since the staff schedules the meetings with the approval of the committee one year in advance. Many town clerks were unable to attend this meeting due to pressing election matters. It originally had been scheduled on September 8th because the staff recognized that preparations for the presidential elections would be very time consuming. Unfortunately, it had to be rescheduled because of a conflict with the Executive Committee of the Town Clerks Association. The November meeting will have to also be rescheduled due to the New England Town Clerks Association Meeting.

B. Mary Louise Jensen distributed materials on iConn, the State Library's electronic digital library. Citizens can access the website using their library card barcode number. The website contains articles, databases and other information on a wide variety of topics.

C. In accordance with Executive Order No. 30, the staff distributed the current issue of the CONNservator electronically to all town clerks and town chief executive offices who have email. The remainder received hard copies as usual.

VII. The Public Records Administrator adjourned the meeting at 2:50 p.m.

VIII. The next meeting will be at 1:00 p.m. at the Middletown Library Services Center on a date to be determined.

Respectfully submitted,

Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

September 22, 2004