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Historic Documents Preservation Account Advisory Committee

Middletown Library Service Center

November 19, 2003


Members present: State Librarian Kendall Wiggin, CSL; Public Records Administrator Eunice DiBella, CSL; Grants Manager Sheila K. Mosman, CSL; Grants Consultant Mary Louise Jensen, CSL; Preservation Librarian Jane Cullinane, CSL; Cynthia Ladwig, Stonington Town Clerk; Patricia H. Strauss, Westport Town Clerk; Lisa A Valenti, North Branford Town Clerk; Sandra Hutton, Middletown Town Clerk/Representative Town Clerks' Association; Therese Pac, Bristol Town and City Clerk; Joyce P. Mascena, Glastonbury Town Clerk.

Members absent: Fiscal Administrator Richard Kingston, CSL; Karen Lee Marsden, Clinton Town Clerk; Barbara Breor, Goshen Town Clerk; Catherine S. Nurmi, Sterling Town Clerk; State Archivist Mark Jones, CSL; Joan Gerdsen, Mansfield Town Clerk.

Others present: Betsy M. Barrett, Lisbon Town Clerk; LeAnn Johnson, CSL; Bruce Stark, CSL; Lizette Pelletier, Archival Consultant.

I. The State Librarian called the meeting to order at 1:07 p.m.

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

III. There were no introductions.

IV. The minutes of September 24, 2003 were approved with minor spelling corrections.

V. Fiscal Report

A. Richard Kingston was unable to attend the meeting. Library staff passed out a written fiscal report. The town clerks noted that there has been a change in the filings during the past month, although not necessarily in the number of filings but in the number of documents for each filing. This could be the beginning of the drop-off in revenue.

The State Librarian said that the State Library is distributing the 70% for the towns at about the same rate as it receives it. The growth in the balance is from the 30% designated for the State Library that it has been unable to spend, as it would like.

B. The State Library was recently audited including the grant program. As far as the grant program, the auditor pointed out that the State Library needs to file two annual reports and emphasized the need for timely filing of the Project Evaluation/Expenditure Report by the town clerks.

VI. Old Business

A. Workshops and Training

1. The wet materials workshop has been scheduled for March 24 & 25, 2004 at the Van Block facility. It will be split into two one-day sessions with a thirty (30) person limit for each session. The Hartford Fire Department will conduct fire extinguisher training in the morning. LeAnn Johnson distributed a list of document types desired for the training. Donations of these types of materials are needed. The committee also discussed other materials that the Town Clerks had in their vaults and offices that should be included to make the training as realistic as possible. The participants will attempt to salvage the materials on their own and then Lori Foley will demonstrate the proper methods. Participants should dress in comfortable clothing, as they will be dealing with wet, dirty items.

2. The advanced Town Clerk School is set for this Friday, November 21 at the Institute of Technology and Business Development building in New Britain. Antonia Moran, an associate professor of Political Science at CCSU, will discuss grant-writing focusing on the competitive grants. Lizette Pelletier has developed documents and a scenario so that participants can practice writing a grant and then critique it.

3. Lizette Pelletier and LeAnn Johnson attended a New York State Archives' grant training workshop to observe how they conduct their sessions. It was very helpful, especially in terms of how to design training for this grant program.

B. State Library Projects

1. Aerial Photographs

a. Jane Cullinane has completed the first draft for the bid specifications for creating new negatives for aerial photographs project. They are being reviewed by a specialist in aerial photographs from the Department of Environmental Protection, the map librarian at the University of Connecticut and a photograph curator from Mystic Seaport. She hopes to have the final draft by the end of the month. These specifications could be a model for other photograph collections.

b. Pat McGlammery will be attending the February 11th meeting to demonstrate the on-line system. He has located a copy of a missing mosaic and will be substituting it for the original. The work to mount the mosaics on the website is moving along. He is aiming to have them up by Thanksgiving.

2. The State Archivist was not at the meeting to give a detailed update on the Public Records of Connecticut publication project. Bruce Start reported that the editor's PSA is in place and they are progressing.

3. The court records staff is back in place. Louise Tucker is being paid from NHPRC grant money; Debra Pond from the Historical Document Preservation Account. Louise is not a professional archivist but a law librarian, so she required some training in document handling. Researchers are beginning to benefit from their work. Bruce Stark has been in contact with a student from UConn about a possible PhD dissertation. Particular attention is being paid to Native Americans and African Americans. The staff is creating two databases for each group that include records up to 1875. They have identified 350 cases involving individuals from each group that will be invaluable to both genealogists and social historians.

Max Evans, the executive director of the National Historic Publications and Records Commission, met with Bruce Stark and Debra Pond on October 17th, to see the records and the work done as part of the NHPRC grant.

Bruce and Debra also presented a paper at the October 18th meeting of the New England Archivists about the court records project. They are thinking about doing a small exhibit in the Museum of Connecticut History in the State Library building of interesting items found in the court papers. The State Librarian and Bruce also recently met with a professor from Yale who is interested in publishing a Native American Papers Collection on-line.

4. The PSA for Nick Artim, fire safety engineer, who will assist the Public Records Administrator in rewriting the vault regulations, is now in place. The Public Records Administrator will have a representative of the Town Clerks meet with him to discuss issues including security, electricity and air conditioning in the vaults.

C. Grants.

1. FY 2003 Grants: All the reports have finally been submitted. The Public Records Administrator distributed a memo she wrote for the committee regarding extensions for filing them. There is no provision in the statutes for allowing an extension. They must be in the office on September 1st following the end of the grant period. A possible penalty would be to make a town ineligible for the next grant they apply for or to request return of funds they have already received.

2. FY 2004 Grants: LeAnn Johnson reported there were 33 applications for $252,000.00. The staff is waiting for information from two applicants.

3. FY 2005

a. Lizette Pelletier reviewed additional changes to the guidelines. Previously funded preservation surveys reports provided suggestions for equipment that will be valuable to the town clerks.

b. The committee discussed possible alternatives to the three-tier population distribution. There are a few towns that are on the cusp between small and medium that could use the additional funds the higher level would bring them. Because there is not an official statewide census between the ten-year federal census, the figures cannot be fairly adjusted. The State Librarian will investigate other options based on individual town collection and distribution figures from the State Library's fiscal office.

D. Sandra Hutton was unable to contact Susan Depold since the last meeting for suggestions for a representative from Tolland County. She will do so as soon as possible. The possibility of having one meeting each year at a different location was discussed.

E. There was no other old business

VIII. New Business: There was no other new business

IX. The meeting adjourned at 2:30 p.m.

X. The next meeting is February 11, 2004 at 12:30 p.m. at the Middletown Library Service Center.

Respectfully submitted,

Lizette Pelletier, Recorder

November 19, 2003