Cooperative programs seem to have come into their own in recent years, helped by the computer and by the large pool of knowledgeable participants. Last year at the San Antonio meeting, the Cooperative Preservation Programs Discussion Group was formed, and there were 22 representatives at this meeting from national, regional, state and local cooperative programs. Unlike the group that has been meeting separately during the winter, this one is not invitational. Anyone who is interested can come. Tom Clareson of AMIGOS Bibliographic Council is the chair. One of the topics discussed at length was how to coordinate state, regional and national programs to avoid duplication of effort, especially on workshops. (However, experience with the New York State Program shows that local regions of a state may want and need to do their own disaster workshops even after they have had one sponsored by the state program )
This 3-V2-hour meeting was filled with news and informed discussion. The areas served by regional centers continue to expand; will every center eventually be national? or international? SOLINET serves 10 southeastern states, Kentucky, Tennessee and the Caribbean; NEDCC is getting work from Turkey and from U.S. businesses. LAPNet (Los Angeles Preservation Network) has given workshops on seven topics, put out two videos on mending and encapsulation and sold over 100 copies of their disaster plan on diskette for $15. The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), which has funded the planning and educational work for state preservation programs, is not able yet to offer support for implementing of plans. NEH has no inhibitions about funding preservation of small but significant collections.
The New York State program has shown how effective and economical a regrant program is; all you need is one person to administer it. [Regrant programs receive funding that is then distributed to local organizations on the basis of their grant applications to the state or regional office.] Grant applications fall off in economic hard times because either the preservation person doesn't have time to apply or they are no longer there.
In this and other meetings, there was concern for the small collections, which are left out of much of the large-scale preservation action. Cooperative programs are reaching many of them, though, and plan to reach more.
A program on building of statewide programs, "Breaking Ground," will be reported separately later on in this Newsletter.