The Abbey Newsletter

Volume 9, Number 5
Sep 1985

Funding Doubled for N.Y. Libraries

Last year the legislature of New York State passed the first large-scale preservation law at the state level in this country. It made a total of half a million dollars available to all New York libraries and related institutions that had important collections, as long as they could show they knew how to spend the money. Despite the fact that it took a year to find someone to coordinate the statewide program, due to the shortage of preservation librarians, the program was carried out during 1984/85 under the temporary leadership of Pan Darling, and the legislature actually doubled the amount available for 1985/86.

In its first year of operation, 60% of the money was spent on treatment of one sort or another, and 11% on microfilming. A total of 22 institutions took part. More information can be obtained from: the New York State Library, Division of Library Development, Room 10-C-SO, Cultural Education Canter, Albany, NY 12230.

The text of the law is given below in its entirety, with headings added by the Editor for clarity. It is followed by selections from an information sheet amplifying the terms and concepts used in the legislation, apparently compiled to help the applicants.


[Education Law, Section 273, Subdivision 7]

7. Conservation and preservation of library research materials.

a. Annual grants to certain major libraries. The commissioner may award an annual grant of $90,000 for a program of conservation and/or preservation of library research materials to each of the following comprehensive research libraries:

Columbia University Libraries
Cornell University Libraries
New York State Library
New York University Libraries
University of Rochester Libraries
Syracuse University Libraries
The Research Libraries of the New York Public Library
State University of New York at Albany Library
State University of New York at Binghamton Library
State University of New York at Buffalo Library
State University of New York at Stony Brook Library

b. Eligibility for major libraries. To be eligible for such grants, each such comprehensive research library must submit both a five-year plan and an annual program budget. The plan must satisfy criteria to be established by the

commissioner in regulations relating to the identification of library research materials, the need for their preservation, and the means of their conservation.

c. Support for smaller libraries that are ready, willing and able. For aid payable in the calendar year 1985 and thereafter, the commissioner shall award grants not to exceed $200,000 in any year to agencies and libraries not eligible for funding under paragraph a of this subdivision for the purpose of the conservation and/or preservation of unique library research materials. Project proposals shall be evaluated based upon factors including but not limited to:

Institutional commitment to development of a collective capacity and coordinated approach to conservation and preservation of research materials important to the people of the state;

Research value of materials to be preserved and/or conserved;

Appropriateness of conservation and preservation techniques in accordance with statewide planning and national standards;

Institutional capacity for successful completion of the project, including facilities, experience, and technical expertise;

Availability of staff with appropriate training and expertise;

Contribution of the institution to the project in matching funds and staff resources; and

Volume of interlibrary lending and access to holdings by the public.

d. Administration of the program. The commissioner shall establish an office for coordination of conservation and/or preservation of library research materials, to identify the conservation and preservation needs of libraries within the state, to assess the technology available for such conservation and preservation, and to coordinate the conservation and preservation efforts resulting from this legislation. The commissioner shall also establish an advisory council on conservation and preservation to assist in the development and operation of this program.

Selections from the Information Sheet


2. Agencies and libraries, as used in Education Law section 273(7), means libraries.., and other agencies collecting, organizing, maintaining and making available to the people of the State library research materials as defined in paragraph 4 of this subdivision.

3. A program of conservation and/or preservation means a coordinated set of activities for the protection, care and treatment of library materials to prevent loss of their informational or intellectual content and/or of the objects themselves, including, but not limited to:

i. Collection condition evaluation and preservation planning;
ii. Environmental control;
iii. Disaster prevention, preparedness and recovery;
iv. Preparation of library research materials for storage or exhibition, including binding, matting, boxing and other protective wrapping;
v. Collection maintenance, including cleaning and refurbishing;
vi. Screening to identify items needing preservation attention, including searching to establish the availability of replacements;
vii. Rebinding, minor repair and mending;
viii. Reformatting, including photocopying, microfilming, and copying disks to tape;
ix. Major conservation treatment, such as surface cleaning, deacidification, leather repair, and conservation rebinding;
x. Creating or modifying bibliographic records to reflect preservation decisions, including reporting microform masters to the library community.
xi. Quality control and testing of materials, processes and equipment used in any conservation and/or preservation activity; and
xii. Staff training and patron awareness programs.

4. Library research materials means informational materials in print, non-print, manuscript or any other format or medium which are part of the applicant's collections and are, or will be, made available for reference, on-site examination, and/or loan.

5. Unique library research materials means library research materials which are not accessible to the people of the State in any other collection in the State, or identifiable collections of library research materials, some portions of which may be accessible elsewhere in the State, which have research value not duplicated elsewhere in the State.

Five-year Plan

In order to be eligible for State aid..., each comprehensive research library shall submit a five-year plan and an annual program budget. ...


The five-year plan for a program of conservation and/or preservation of library research materials shall include, but need not be limited to, the following elements:

1. A brief description of the types of materials in the collections and their overall physical condition;

2. A description of the current program of conservation and/ or preservation, as defined in paragraph 3 of subdivision a of this section, including:

i. A brief history of program activity;
ii. the number and type of staff involved;
iii. the administrative organization;
iv. Current expenditures;
v. the volume of annual activity; and
vi. the selection criteria, technical procedures, specifications or standards used, and monitoring or evaluation processes.

3. a description of proposed expanded, modified and/or additional activities, including five-year goals for each area of program activity, and annual developmental objectives for reaching those goals covering each category set forth in paragraph 2 of this subdivision; and

4. Evidence that local programs are designed and conducted so as to complement other conservation and/or preservation activities within and outside the State.

Preservation Methods

Activities in areas such as environmental control, the creation of microforms, and specifications for materials and procedures used in physical treatment shall be conducted in

accordance with standards approved by the commissioner.

Applications and Reports

2. Agencies and libraries applying for grants... shall submit project proposals in a form prescribed by the department, including, but not limited to, the following elements:

i. a description of the unique library research materials to be preserved or conserved with grant funds;
ii. a description of proposed conservation and/or preservation activities, and of the techniques to be employed in such activities;
iii. a description of staff and/or data about suppliers of contract services which demonstrates appropriate training, experience and expertise for performing the proposed work;
iv. Evidence of access to appropriate facilities for conservation and/or preservation;
v. Assurance that bibliographic information in machine-readable form will be available on materials preserved;
vi. Evidence of institutional commitment to development of a coordinated approach to conservation and preservation in the State;
vii. Institutional contribution to the project in matching funds and staff resources; and
viii. Data demonstrating the volume of inter-library lending by the applicant within the State and beyond, and public access to the applicant's holdings.

Advisory Council

The commissioner shall appoint a five-member advisory council to assist in the development and operation of the grant program for conservation and/or preservation of research library materials. Such council shall consist of one member from each of the following:

a comprehensive research library;
an academic library;
a public library;
an historical society, archive, or other repository; and
a person knowledgeable in conservation and/or preservation of library materials.

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