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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Van Block Facility

October 11, 2006





Members Present:        State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL: Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; Administrative Services Director Richard Kingston, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; State Archivist Mark H. Jones, CSL; Grants Manager Sheila Mosman, CSL; Building Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk; Therese Pac, Bristol Town Clerk; Joseph Quartiero, Torrington Town Clerk; Lisa Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Carla Pomprowicz, Hebron Town Clerk; Patti Strauss, Westport Town Clerk


Members Absent:         Catherine S. Nurmi, Sterling Town Clerk; Karen L. Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Sandra Hutton Russo, Middletown Town Clerk


Others Present:             LeAnn Power, CSL; Bruce Stark, CSL, Lizette Pelletier, CSL; Kathryn Makover, CSL



I.        The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:01 p.m.

II.       The minutes of the July 19th meeting were approved as written.

III.      Fiscal Report: Richard Kingston reported on the fiscal status of the fund.  Revenues are slightly below what they were for the same period last year.  He estimates that the fund will receive about $100,000 in interest for FY2007.  The competitive grant set aside amount for FY2008 should be $400,000 as approved at the last meeting.

IV.      Old Business

A.      Grants

1.      FY2006 Grants:  One town did not have the paper copy of its Final Project Evaluation/Expenditure Report in by the deadline, although it was faxed on September 1st.  Seven towns had unexpended funds.  One additional town had to return $1,600 in grant funds because the expenditures in the final report did not match the original application and an amendment was not requested.

2.      FY2007 Grants

a.      LeAnn distributed a list of grants applicants for cycle 2.  Forty-seven towns have applied, which brings the total number of towns receiving grants in FY2007 to 147: 138 targeted grants and 9 competitive grants.

The Field Archivist is focusing her site visits on towns that have not applied recently for a grant.  She will try to assist them in developing some projects ideas for the next grant cycle. 

b.      East Hartford applied for a $10,000 disaster recovery grant. The total recovery costs are estimated at $17,000 from the water damage that occurred last August.  The volumes were freeze-dried but a number will need to be cleaned and rebound.  A few others will need to be encapsulated.  The town has a very high deductible on its insurance and has also not contributed toward any document recovery costs.  It also has not provided for any repairs, beyond stopping the leak, to the building that would guarantee that the leak would not occur again.

The staff asked the members whether the maximum amount of the disaster recovery grants should be increased to $20,000.  The committee would prefer that the guidelines be changed to give the Public Records Administrator the flexibility to approve a larger grant given the circumstances surrounding the disaster.  The town clerks were concerned that some towns might see the availability of grant funds as an excuse for avoiding maintenance and fixing building problems.  In the event that the disaster was man-made, the town should contribute a significant portion to the repairs or at least prove it has corrected the problems that led to the disaster in the first place.

The members recommended that any costs for East Hartford to rebind and restore the volumes beyond the $10,000 disaster recovery grant should come from targeted money now that the items have been stabilized through freeze drying.

3.      Grant Contract Revisions: The staff provided the members with a copy of the current draft contract in the meeting packet.  Beginning with FY2008 Cycle 1, the grant process will be in separate steps.  The first step will be that a town applies for the grant, which the Public Records Administrator approves or denies.  The town will then receive a contract that must be properly signed and dated by the town official authorized to enter into contracts for the town.  The town must return the contract to the State Library prior to the grant check being released.  Work cannot start earlier than July 1st and then only after the town receives a signed copy of the contract.

These changes will make the process more formal.  Towns will need to take a more proactive role in meeting deadlines and providing additional information when requested.  Failure to do so could profoundly impact the timely completion of the project.

This first year will be an adjustment period for everyone. The staff will try to adjust the timetable where possible to accommodate the changes and give the town sufficient time to complete the application and approval process and to complete the projects within the grant period.

4.       There was no additional grants business.

B.      Workshops & Training: 

1.       FY2007 workshop:

a.      State Archivist Mark Jones and Assistant State Archivist Bruce Stark will present a workshop on Archival Management. The workshop would include archival vocabulary, processing of records and development of finding aids. The town clerks discussed the benefit of doing some hands on processing so the town clerks would have some experience.  The date will be in June and be held at the Keeney Center in Wethersfield.

b.       Another area of interest for a workshop was additional disaster training including use of DPlan, insurance issues and identifying risks.  It is difficult to organize two workshops each year, but there may be opportunities at the Town Clerks’ school or the spring Town Clerks’ Conference in Hartford.  Therese Pac is Co-chair of the Town Clerks’ School committee.  Kathy Makover will assist her in contacting NEDCC regarding DPlan training.

2.      Eunice, LeAnn and Kathy attended the Connecticut Conference of Municipalities conference on Oct 3rd in Cromwell where they had a table with handouts about the grant program.   Eunice also gave a brief presentation as part of a session on documenting town history.  Agnes Pier of Windsor also spoke on her experience applying for the competitive grant. 

3.      The discussion went off the agenda to legislative initiatives for the next session.  Patti Strauss reported that the main issue remains the marginal notations and the need for 1” margins on documents.  There also needs to be a clarification on the FOI exemption for personal identifying information on public records for Department of Children and Families’ employees and other exempt individuals.  This information cannot be removed from the land records.

4.      The staff of the Office of the Public Records Administrator and State Archives will present the records management module at the Town Clerks school on December 7th.  This will include an overview of records management and the grant program.  It will be at the Institute of Business and Technology [ITBD] in New Britain.

5.      The State Librarian announced that the Digitization Conference sponsored by the Connecticut State Library and Connecticut History Online will be November 14th.  This conference is available to Town Clerks.  The sessions will include how to plan a project and provide information on the latest technological developments.  Follow-up workshops will explore more specific topics.

6.      The Division of Library Development is offering a series of preservation related workshops.  They will be made available to the Town Clerks on a space available basis.  Over 20 town clerks signed up for the Preservation workshop this month. 

C.      State Library Reports

1.      There is a summary of State Library preservation activities funded through the program in the meeting packet.

2.      The Public Records Administrator sent a letter to Peter Bartucca informing him that the committee approved conservation of town records in the State Library’s custody as an eligible expense.

3.      The staff distributed copies of the FY2006 Annual Report to the Legislature regarding the State Library’s preservation activities.  The cover photo is of the old Photostat machine used to copy state documents and archival records in the early 20th century.  Connecticut was the first state to purchase the camera, which was cutting edge technology at the time.

D.     Meeting Schedule

1.      The meetings for 2007 are tentatively scheduled for March 21, July 11, and October 10.  These are all Wednesdays.  The staff will verify that there are no conflicts with professional meetings or town clerk duties.  All meetings will be at Van Block unless otherwise notified.

2.      The staff distributed a proposed attendance policy, which was approved.  There will be a new Town Clerks Association President installed in April.  The staff will contact him to see if he would like to be part of the committee or to appoint a representative. 

E.      There was no other old business.

V.        New Business

A.     Jane Cullinane gave a presentation on the availability of the 1934 Aerial Photographs on line.  Town Clerks will be notified when the web pages are available to the public in the near future.

B.      State Archivist Mark Jones discussed the Council of State Archivists [CoSA] survey regarding disaster planning which resulted from last year’s hurricanes.  There was a conference of Gulf Coast archivists that discussed their experiences and the hurdles they faced after the storms.  CoSA then developed a state survey which became part of a report to Congress by the Archivist of the United StatesConnecticut participated in this survey.  The National Archives is receiving much new information that is changing the way archivists and other records custodians handle disasters.  The State Archivist will pass on information as he receives it.

C.     The State Librarian will be meeting the representative from the state office of Homeland Security to discuss the role of libraries in keeping disaster victims informed and connected to the relief system as well as various public records issues.

VI.      The State Librarian adjourned the meeting at 2:41 p.m.

VII.     The next meeting is tentatively scheduled for March 21, 2007 at the Van Block Facility.

Respectfully submitted,




Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

October 11, 2006