The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 8, Number 4
Jul 1984


Council on Library Resources (CLR)

CLR provides ongoing support for ANSI Committee Z39, which this year is working on two conservation standards (see news item). It is supporting the series of four instructional conferences sponsored by the ALA and the Library of Congress, 1983-85, for directors, supervisors and technicians.

Individuals receiving full or partial support for their activities, according to the 1983 annual report, are John Sharpe III and Guy Petherbridge, for their documentation of early bookbinding practices and structures in the codices in the Monastery of St. John on Patmos; and Nancy Bell, for a nine-month period of instruction and work experience with conservators at five institutions in England, and with one independent conservator. Nancy Bell is an apprentice bookbinder at the Eisenhower Library, Johns Hopkins University.

Grant application procedures: Initial inquiries regarding possible project support should be in the form of a letter, which should include the following information:

  1. Name and address of requesting individual or organization, and the name of the proposed principal investigator.
  2. Type of institution.
  3. Tax status.
  4. A clear statement of the aims of the project and its significance, including details of the general approach and specific research methods to be used.
  5. Amount of request and proposed budget for the project.
  6. Period to be covered by the project.

With this information, each proposed project can be evaluated in terms of how it fits the Council's current program priorities. If a project is judged to be of possible interest, advice will be offered as to proposal preparation, and additional information may be requested. There are no deadlines for general grant applications.

All inquiries should be addressed to: Warren J. Haas, President, Council on Library Resources, Inc., 1785 Massachusetts Ave., NW, Washington, DC 20036.

National Endowment for the Humanities

Conservation-related awards in the Research Resources Program for fiscal year 1983 were in both program categories, "Organization and Improvement" and "Research Resources Program: Conservation and Preservation." The grant periods varied in length between one and three or four years. Most of the grants were made outright; only two were matching grants, those for the New York Public Library and the Research Libraries Group.

Organization and improvement. This included 10 state newspaper projects, usually combining microfilming with cataloging ($5,000 to $10,000 each); one cataloging/preservation project with a collection of private papers ($48,000); and one collection development/preservation project for the research libraries of the Now York Public Library (nothing outright; up to $2,127,000 matching).

Research Resources Program: Conservation and preservation. These were fairly large grants to recipients whose names are familiar to readers of this Newsletter. The Research Libraries Group got $200,000 (matching up to $475,000) to microfilm endangered brittle books (Americana from 1876-1900); the New York State Education Department got $52,140 to train administrators of libraries and historical organizations in conservation, and to initiate long-term conservation planning for the state; Southern Illinois University, Carbondale, got $106, 650 for the Midwest Cooperative Conservation Project; NEDCC got one grant for $96,000 for its field service program (on-site consultation and education in libraries and archives), and another for $57,936 for its project on duplication of historical negatives; and the American Library Association (ALA) got $64,400 to support development of a face-up copier (ALA jobbed this out, of course, so to speak). The principle investigators, in order, were or are Barbara Brown, Larry Hackman, Carolyn Morrow, Mildred O'Connell, Andrew Raymond and Howard White.

All of the above grants were through NEH's Division of Research Programs. NEH has four other divisions, which have rarely (if ever) awarded conservation grants in the past. However, one of them, the Division of General Programs, is now offering an experimental or pilot category

in the area of collections study and management, which they define to include conservation. It provides funds to enable an institution to survey its permanent collection and determine priorities and strategies for conservation treatment. Whore a critical need can be demonstrated, an application can be made for the conservation of objects in permanent collections. Objects in NEH-funded exhibitions can have necessary preliminary conservation funded.

Here is where this category fits in the organizational hierarchy:

Division of General Programs (1 of 5 divisions)
Program for Museums and Historical Organizations
Collections Study and Management. This has four types of grants:
1. Documentation grants
2. Planning for computerized documentation grants
3. Conservation survey and analysis grants
4. Conservation treatment for objects in a permanent collection grants

Any nonprofit organization, institution, or group may apply for support from the program f or Museums and Historical Organizations. Examples of eligible applicants include libraries, science technology centers, educational institutions and agencies of state or local government as well as museums and historical organizations. But certain types of projects are not supported, e.g. general operating expenses. The following questions reflect the principal concerns of panelists and reviewers evaluating proposals for Conservation Survey and Treatment Projects:

  1. Does the application clearly demonstrate the extent to which the objects to be conserved constitute an important resource for public interpretive activities and for research in the humanities ["Humanities" includes almost everything but science and art proper. It includes history, philosophy, languages, linguistics, literature, archaeology, law, history and criticism of the arts, ethics, comparative religion, and those aspects of the social sciences that employ historical or philosophical approaches.]
  2. Does the applicant describe the need for the project and place it within the institution's overall operations and priorities?
  3. How does the project correspond with the institution's conservation activities in the past three years and with its conservation plans for the future?
  4. Will the appropriate specialists be involved in the project?
  5. Is there a plan of work with a practical timetable?

The deadline date f or projects beginning between July and December 1985 is October 30, 1984. The deadline after that is April 29, 1985. Prior to the deadline date, applicants are invited to consult with program staff about the eligibility of their project. Institutions are urged to submit a draft proposal no later than six to eight weeks before the formal deadline. For more information, write to National Endowment for the Humanities, Humanities Projects in Museums and Historical Organizations, Washington, DC, 20506, or call 202/786-0284.

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