Preservation Caucus Minutes

Florida Library Association
May 12, 1993

The Preservation Caucus met on May 12, 1993, at the Florida Library Association's Annual Conference. Dr. John DePew chaired the meeting which centered on the theme of "Preservation in Florida--Where Do We Go from Here?" A panel of ten librarians from various Florida libraries contributed to the thoughtful and stimulating discussion. A total of 33 people attended the meeting (ten panelists and twenty-three members of the audience).

Lorraine Summers and Marvin Mounce represented the State Library. Lorraine reviewed past statewide contributions to preservation. The State Library funded the disaster preparedness workshops which were held in 1988 at six locations in Florida. The workshops were under the direction of Dr. John DePew, and involved over 150 participants. The State Library also funded a needs survey conducted by Dr. DePew, who published An Investigation of Preservation Service Needs and Options for Florida Libraries (Tallahassee, FL.: Florida State University, 1990). The State has also subsidized individual travel and study relating to preservation. Since 1992, the State Library has been active in a preservation microfilming project involving ASERL and SOLINET, and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. The University of Miami, University of Florida, and the University of West Florida are also involved in the project. Lorraine introduced Marvin Mounce, who is responsible for coordinating preservation activities throughout the state. Marvin described the free SOLINET workshops scheduled for 1993 and funded with an LSCA grant. Workshops will be presented in four locations around the state on Administrative Issues in Preservation, Library Binding for Preservation, Preserving Collections in a Hostile Environment, and Book Repair: Fundamental Techniques. The first three workshops are open to 50 people per seminar, and are valued at over $70.00 per person. The book repair workshop will cap at 20 people, will be a two day workshop, and normally costs $195.00.

David Whisenant described the newly formed Northeast Florida Library Information Network, and deferred to Vicki Stanton, who described the Disaster Preparedness Consortium of Northeast Florida. The Consortium was formed after the disaster workshops to enable local librarians to coordinate efforts to write disaster plans. Since then two of the members have finished their library plans, and the consortium has broadened its scope to general preservation. They have sponsored a one day book repair seminar, have provided expertise to other librarians, and are coordinating local arrangements for the SOLINET workshops. They plan to be an active part of NEFLIN. Vicki also reviewed state preservation activities across the country, and summarized efforts as either grass roots (PALMCOP, Rhode Island), or state initiated with either state or federal funds (New York, North Carolina, Oklahoma).

Erich Kesse, University of Florida, described UF's preservation activities, and the formation of FLIPPER, an electronic discussion group and electronic file of preservation documents. Librarians with Bitnet or Internet addresses can access FLIPPER with the following command:

      tell listserv@nervm sub flipper

The University of Florida is interested in providing preservation support to others in the State University System, and assisted in writing the SUS preservation plan. The plan, "Preservation Networking: FCLA, the SUS, and Granting", proposes a preservation networking project with a strong automation component to be carried out through the Florida Center for Automation. The plan was approved by FLCA and SUS Library Directors on May 7, 1992. UF has been designated as a training site for an NEH/SOLINET sponsored program called "Train the Trainers." They will provide intensive training in Collections Conservation, with hands-on training at UF. This project is in the planning stage, and details will be forthcoming.

Doug Lehman, Miami-Dade Community College, Salvador Miranda, Florida International University, and Raymond Santiago, Miami-Dade Public Library, spoke about Hurricane Andrew and the need for disaster plans. They agreed that even with a plan, there was a need to be flexible, and emphasized that a phone contact point outside the hurricane area was critical. SOLINET was suggested as a possible contact location. Insurance coverage, collection evaluation, and assessment of damage are concerns that all libraries need to address.

Barbara Stites, Tampa Bay Library Consortium, described successful workshops they had sponsored. They have presented seminars on binding, book repair, and general preservation, using local talent, SOLINET, and other vendors.

Ann-Marie Allison, University of Central Florida, presented an overview of preservation needs from a director's point of view. She brought up the need to assess future needs and funding from a political standpoint as well as from a local standpoint. Skills need to be developed in grant writing, and enlisting assistance from other groups such as Trustees and Friends of the Library.

The discussion was opened for general comments. The following needs were identified:

  1. Cooperative/reciprocal assistance agreements
  2. Institutional, regional, and state preservation plans (with written collection management plans as a required precursor)
  3. Realistic disaster plans with periodic updates
  4. Mentoring (especially for planning)
  5. Repair training and/or book repair facilities
  6. Conservation training for selected institutions
  7. Basic preservation awareness for librarians and local and state legislators
  8. Good book binding practices following Library Binding Institute standards
  9. Environmental control and storage
  10. Reformatting for preservation and access
  11. Awareness of the legislative and jurisdictional politics of state, region, county, city and institution
  12. Awareness of funding sources and their requirements for funding
  13. Needs assessment surveys of materials (actual physical condition of volumes as opposed to perceived needs)
  14. Awareness of training and continuing education possibilities
  15. Connectivity and communications infrastructure
  16. Library school classes in preservation

A discussion ensued of free training vs. training with a cost recovery fee. It must be recognized that costs are incurred for the participants through time away from the institution and other "invisible" costs as well as the costs for travel, registration and room and board. There are also costs to the training institution in terms of work not completed, staff not available, supplies expended, etc. The training should benefit both the trainer and the trainee so that a) the trainee's institution invests time and money to save in future costs of preserving the collections, b) the training institution invests time and money to make sure others can begin to answer their own research questions and make wise preservation decisions. Trainers in all fields have found that after the workshop is over, the participants must be supported in their home institution, and may also require follow up contacts with the trainers. For successful preservation training, there must be an ongoing commitment from library administration for funding of preservation materials and for preservation duties to be a written assigned duty of the individual.

A motion was made and seconded that a task force be established to discuss the future directions of multi-institutional preservation activities in Florida. John DePew, Marvin Mounce, Erich Kesse, Art Bagley, and Vicki Stanton agreed to serve on the task force and to report their recommendations to the Preservation Caucus.

A short business meeting was held following the panel discussion. Dr. DePew introduced the incoming caucus chair, Art Bagley, from the University of Tampa. Nominations were solicited for vice chair/chair elect. Vicki Stanton was nominated and elected to the position.


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