Drawing of State Library BuildingConnecticut State Library Home

Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Middletown Library Service Center
November 29, 2000


Members Present
Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; State Archivist Mark Jones, CSL; Ed Friedeberg, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Barbara Tarbox, Groton Town Clerk; Lisa A Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town and City Clerk; Karen Lee Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Barbara Allen, Goshen Town Clerk; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Joan Gerdsen, Mansfield Town Clerk/President Town Clerk's Association; Patricia H. Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Joyce P. Mascena, Vernon Town Clerk; Mollie Keller, Bridgeport City Archivist/State Library Board Member.

Members Absent
Leona Manville, Brooklyn TownClerk; Richard Kingston, CSL

Others Present
Lizette Pelletier, Archival Consultant

  1. State Librarian Kendall Wiggin called the meeting to order at 9:40 a.m.

  2. The State Librarian welcomed the board members to the meeting.

  3. Members introduced themselves and stated their affiliation.

  4. The minutes of September 13, 2000 were approved with corrections.

  5. State Library fiscal officer Richard Kingston was unable to attend the meeting. The Public Records Administrator reported that there is currently $411,000 in the fund. 168 of 169 towns have filed at least one report. The town clerks asked for additional time before the State Library issues late notices. Many towns are on a twice-monthly billing cycle. Members agreed that a one-month (30-day) grace period would be sufficient.

  6. The Public Records Administrator proposed adding a preservation planning survey as another option for the first grants cycle. Her goal is to provide the towns with a more comprehensive picture beyond a simple plan for book repairs. New York State allows up to $2,000 for a planning survey for its towns. The Northeast Documents Conservation Center [NEDCC] could provide a comprehensive survey resulting in a 50-page report with recommendations. The Public Records Administrator proposed a $2200 maximum grant to towns to complete a preservation survey. This amount would cover the estimated $555.00 per day cost exclusive of travel expenses for a one-day on-site visit and approximately three days to analyze the data and prepare the report. The committee agreed that this was a valuable option.

    Jane Cullinane distributed a handout on preservation needs surveys and planning that will appear in the next newsletter. She told the town clerks that it is best to step back and look at the whole picture. Otherwise, they will be doomed to repairing the same items over and over because the underlying cause remains. A good needs assessment can be the base for a solid five year plan.

    The town clerks asked if there were other institutions that could provide the assessment since NEDCC estimated that it is currently only able to provide 12-15 per year. There is a Center for Conservation of Art and Historic Artifacts in Philadelphia. The State Librarian will talk to NEDCC about increasing the annual capacity. If NEDCC knows that they will have a large number of surveys, they might increase their staff. The State Library's role as founding member and annual contributor may give the towns' needs a top priority.

    The committee agreed that if there are more applicants for the assessment grants than the staff can address in a year, towns moving to new facilities or planning renovations should have top priority.

  7. The Public Records Administrator presented the following new business to the committee.

    1. Since the State Library is a founding member of NEDCC, NEDCC will provide three free workshops per annum. The Public Records Administrator would like to offer three full-day sessions during the next two years. The State Library will pay for the local arrangements and a lunch from its part of the fund. Basic Preservation Planning in the spring of 2001 would be an introduction to collection preservation including storage and handling of paper, microfilm and electronic media. Disaster Planning in the fall of 2001 and Preservation Microfilming in the winter or spring of 2002 would be prerequisites for future grant applications. Joan Gerdsen requested that the State Library coordinate the course design to allow the town clerks to earn credit for the IIMC Master Municipal Certificate. The Town Clerks Association will provide a copy of the necessary guidelines. The Public Records Administrator requested volunteers from the committee to help with local arrangements. The committee agreed that the Cromwell area is the best location because it is central to all the towns.

    2. To determine allocation of the grant funds, the committee must decide the criteria for a small, medium or large town/city. Staff research found no state criteria, other than for specific programs by statute. A discussion on possible divisions followed using population statistics from the Office of Policy and Management website. Because two-thirds of Connecticut towns are under 25,000, the committee explored other criteria. One option is to divide the available money evenly between all 169 town regardless of size. Another option is to develop a per capita formula that would grant every town the same percentage. The State Library's staff will study the impact of various options.

      Karen Marsden raised the issue of towns supplanting budget lines in anticipation of future grants and retained funds. The State Librarian asked that the town clerks informally survey their members to find out if this is happening. He will send a letter to all the towns reminding them that the legislature intended this to be additional funding. Steve Fontana is working with Rep. Andrew Roraback from Goshen to resolve this issue in Litchfield County. If they can't solve it at the local level they will propose a statutory clarification. The Public Records Administrator will include a provision in the future regulations enforcing the statutory provision that the Office may require towns to return grant funds if used to supplant previous funding. The Town Clerks Association needs to provide statistical information on the number of towns having difficulty accessing the $1.00 retained or having existing funds removed in anticipation of the town clerk receiving a future grant. The next newsletter will include an article on this issue.

    3. The Staff presented a first draft of the first cycle application form for discussion. The committee made a number of suggestions from the user's point of view. The staff will meet with Mary Louise Jensen and other State Library staff to finalize the form before sending it to the committee for comments. A final form of the form must be completed prior to the next meeting for release by the February 1st deadline.

    4. The pamphlet/guidelines to accompany the form must be ready by February 1, 2001. The town clerks asked that the pamphlet include a statement that the grants do not require matching funds from the town. The Public Records Administrator reminded the towns that they are responsible for any project costs above the grant amount.

    5. Town clerks should contact their first selectman or chief fiscal officer regarding town procedures for approving grant applications.

    6. In the future, the draft minutes for the previous meeting will be e-mailed to all committee members who have Internet access.

  8. The next meeting will be Wednesday January 24, 2001 at 9:30 am at the Middletown Service Center. If the forecast is for inclement weather that day, the State Librarian will cancel the meeting 24 hours in advance.

  9. The meeting adjourned at 11:45 a.m.

Respectfully submitted,

Lizette Pelletier, Recorder
December 7, 2000