The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 6, Number 2
Apr 1982


NEH Support for Conservation Continues

The FY 1983 budget presented by the administration to Congress includes a request for $400,000 to support certain kinds of projects designed to promote the conservation and preservation of library and archival collections in the United States. Because of the limited amount of money available, support will not be provided for discrete projects to conserve specific collections at individual institutions. Emphasis will instead be given to projects with a multiplier effect which will benefit a number of institutions. (Support will continue to be available from the regular Research Resources budget for reproduction of materials in serious danger of immediate disintegration.)

Grants can be awarded to professional associations, universities, historical societies, research and public libraries, state libraries and archives and other appropriate entities for projects which will contribute directly to a national campaign to save endangered documentary resources for the use of humanistic scholars. Some areas with which projects might be concerned are: model projects to apply improved and cost-efficient preservation technology; training of administrators and curatorial staff in ways to maintain collections to retard deterioration; model microfilming programs based on "last copy" storage facilities; regional planning efforts and cooperative pro grams; and disaster planning.

For further information and application instructions, contact the staff of the Research Resources Program at (202) 724-0341 or Mail Stop 350, 806 Fifteenth St., NW, Washington, DC 20506. The next deadline is June 1, 1982.

Reagan Asks for Further Cuts in New Arts Budget

Unsuccessful in his effort to cut federal spending for the arts in half in last year's budget proposals [for FY '82, which runs through September this year], President Reagan's budget message to Congress on February 8th recommended severe cuts in the appropriation for the National Endowment for the Arts in fiscal year 1983, though not as drastic as his previous proposals.

The NEA budget when Reagan took office was $158 mil lion. His proposal to cut that to $77 million for the current fiscal year was rejected by Congress, which funded the NEA at $143 million. The new recommendation to fund the NEA at $100.8 million in FY 1983 represents a reduction of more than 30 percent, and is expected to encounter strong resistance both on Capitol Hill and in the arts community around the country. (from the March Crafts Report)

The April Crafts Report described the Administration's next move: Last month "The NEA's new Chairman, Frank Hodsoll, who recently moved over from a staff position in the White House, came to Capitol Hill to defend President Reagan's proposed 30% cut in next year's NEA appropriation." (Emphasis added.)

The NEA has supported the study and work of hand binders both as individuals and in organizations. The deadline for grants for crafts is April 23, too close to meet this year, but application guidelines for projects beginning February 1984 can be obtained (when they are ready) from John McLean, Visual Arts Program, National Endowment for the Arts, 2401 E St., N.W., Washington, DC 20506.

Recession Hits Crafts

For a while, to judge by reports of good pre-Christmas sales in the crafts, it looked as if crafts were going to be recession-immune; but post-Christmas craft fairs so far have been largely unprofitable.

A few hand bookbinders have reported privately that business is down for them.

Mellon Foundation Generous to Folger and Morgan

The Folger Library, Washington, DC, has received a one-to-one matching grant for $350,000 for permanent endowment for support of the Conservation Department, In addition to general support for the needs of the conservation laboratory, the grant will provide for conservation apprenticeships or internships.

The Pierpont Morgan library in New York City has received a grant of $600,000 to help endow the library's Conservation Department. The library has three years to match the grant. Both of these grants are from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Columbia Helping First Grads Find Jobs

The School of Library Service at Columbia University is contacting potential employers of the first graduates of its new conservation courses. These grads are the librarians who will have earned a one-year certificate in preservation administration by late spring.

The letter reads, in part:

"Several librarians hope to complete the advanced preservation administration certificate late this spring. Capsule descriptions of each are enclosed, along with a brief description of both programs. If your institution is contemplating the posting of a preservation position this year (either full-time or part-time in combination with other professional duties), I urge you to contact Professor Paul N. Banks, Director of the Conservation and Preservation Programs, or me, to discuss placement possibilities. Complete resumes and references for all students are, of course, available on request."

The letter also urges the libraries to encourage an appropriate member of their staff to apply as a student.

Co-op Bank Under Private Control

Control of the National Consumer Cooperative Bank was transferred from the government to consumer and housing cooperatives on January 15th. Created by Congress in 1978 to make loans and provide technical assistance to consumer cooperatives, Reagan administration efforts to close the bank were defeated in the Congress last year. Instead, an agreement was worked out whereby the bank will repay the government its capital investment over the next 38 years. The bank, which began operations in 1980, has made $100 million in loans to various cooperatives, including several craft cooperatives. (from the March Crafts Report)

Group Practice in Conservation: the A.C.C.A.

The American Center for Conservation of Art and Antiquities, which is announcing two positions open in this issue, sent a sheet of information about itself, which follows:

The ACCA is a multidisciplinary group of highly skilled professionals providing a comprehensive spectrum of support services to the art community. Central to the ACCA concept is the premise that the art community requires a range of conservation skills, and, therefore, the ACCA has developed an interlocking variety of disciplines to provide the following services:

In the near future we expect to expand into:

The ACCA is six years old, presently has a staff of ten, and we expect to double in the next eighteen to twenty-four months. Although a private organization, the ACCA upholds the highest standards and ethics of the conservation field, and endeavors to produce work of the highest quality.

In keeping with this philosophy, the ACCA's staff receives the fiscal benefits of private practice within the structure of a group practice. For example, a private practitioner's income ceases during vacations and holidays, but the ACCA staff member's income continues.

Senior staff members are eligible to participate in the development of additional clientele and they share in the profitability of that development. In this way, a senior staff member's income far surpasses what a private practitioner's hands and ability can produce in a day.

Southwest Association for Conservation is Born

The Southwest Association for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works was organized on October 19, 1981 and meets on the first Mondays of February, April, August and November. At the February meeting, Don Etherington spoke on his 1978 tour of European book and paper conservation labs at major institutions. Speakers planned for the April meeting were Siegfried Rempel on photographic conservation, Wynne Phelan on insurance for conservators, and another to be announced; in addition, there was to be a panel on suppliers. Membership is $10. The secretary is Randall Couch, S.W.A.C., do Conservation Department, Humanities Research Center, The University of Texas, Box 7219, Austin, TX 78712.

Annual Meeting of APPCG in Tempe

The Arizona Paper and Photograph Conservation Group held its annual meeting on January 29, 1982 at Arizona State University in Tempe.

The APPCG now has several committees, two of which may be of interest to other conservation groups. The Salvage Assistance Committee will help other APPCG members in case of s disaster, making available a cache of salvage-related materials; the Co-operative Purchasing Committee will coordinate, as possible, the purchase of commonly used supplies such as polyester film, document boxes and photo enclosures.

During 1981 the APPCG helped sponsor 11 workshops on the basic care of paper and books, photographs, and textiles. Nine were one-day workshops, and two were two-day workshops.

The president is Michael McColgin. Membership is $7.50. Persona interested in joining may contact Judith Robertson, APPCG Treasurer, PD Box 1383, Springerville, AZ 85938.

Leatherworkers Meet, Form New Organization

A new international media organization--Assembly of Workers in Leather (AWL)--was formed by more than 100 people who came to Gatlinburg for the first national leather conference held at the Arrowmont School on March 2 to 4. Participants included craftspeople, tanners and others from everywhere in the United States, as well as ten from Canada and one each from Denmark and Japan, who made the journey specifically to attend the meeting. The event was organized by Marc Goldring, several other leatherworkers, and Sandra Blain of Arrowmont. Information about AWL is available from Marc Goldring, Box 78, South Acworth, NH 03607. (from the April Crafts Report)

This organization may make it possible for binders who are interested in good quality domestic leathers to contact small tanners who are able to supply them, or even to tan leathers to meet specifications.

Book Paper Standards Committee

American National Standards Institute (ANSI) Committee Z39 has a new subcommittee, called "SC [subcommittee] 5: Paper Quality for Library Books." The chairperson is Gay Walker. As of January this year, the subcommittee had held two meetings and was about to begin work on drafting a standard.

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