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Meeting of the Board of Regents | March 2008

Saturday, March 1, 2008 - 11:20pm

sed seal                                                                                                 




signature of Jeff Cannell



Jeffrey Cannell


Office of Cultural Education

Security Review


February 28, 2008


4 and 5






Issue for Discussion


The Office of Cultural Education has undertaken a review of security in the New York State Archives, Library and Museum


Reason(s) for Consideration


              For information.


Proposed Handling


The Cultural Education Committee will discuss the need for increased security in the Archives, Library and Museum.  The Committee will hear an update on the status of the security review that is being conducted as the result of a recent arrest of a staff member for theft of collections.


Procedural History


The State Library and State Archives have taken immediate steps to upgrade security on the 11th Floor of the Cultural Education building.  A panel of security experts is being convened to conduct a review of security in the Library, Archives and Museum.  A collections inventory controls audit is being conducted by SED.  CE staff are cooperating with the Attorney General’s office in identifying stolen property and recovering it.  Weekly reports have been provided to the Commissioner of Education.




Background Information


Following the arrest of an Archives Records Specialist for theft of materials from CE collections, Library and Archives staff have focused efforts in three areas:


  • OAG Investigation:  OCE has been cooperating with the Attorney General’s office in their investigation, their recovery efforts, and preparations for criminal prosecution.  Action is being taken by staff in the following areas relating to the investigation:


  • Review of seized documents:  Archives and Library staff have reviewed all documents seized from the individual’s home and identified those that are clearly state property taken from OCE collections and those that are very likely to have been stolen.
  • Review of items being auctioned on eBay:  The Attorney General announced that eBay would reimburse buyers of stolen materials purchased from the website of the staff member.  As a result, images of items have been returned and reviewed by Library and Archives staff. 
  • Review of Library and Archives collections:  Staff are reviewing key series and collections to identify missing items resembling stolen items in format or content.
  • Review of staff member’s office files and computer files for images, databases and documents potentially relevant to the investigation is on-going.
  • Preparation of victim impact statement and suggested financial restitution has begun.
  • Review of vault visits log for past decade completed.


  • Immediate steps to increase security measures:  Attention is also focusing on identifying and implementing immediate actions that can be taken to further improve security conditions.  These include:


  • Assessment of and changes in physical access provisions to stacks and records storage areas in the Cultural Education Center;
  • Implementation of a “buddy” system for 11th floor stacks and processing areas and rare books room and monitoring of logs to assess compliance;
  • Access to stacks outside normal working hours restricted to a very few administrative staff.
  • Normal working hours must be adhered to by staff unless authorized by supervisor for specific duties and approved by Archives and Library leadership.
  • Fast-tracking installation of security cameras on the 11th floor;
  • Assessment of staff positions needed to provide increased security oversight on the 11th floor;
  • Obtaining quotes from vendors for installation of additional card-key readers and security equipment for collections storage spaces.



  •  Assessment and planning for security improvement:
    • A panel is being assembled to conduct a security assessment of the Library, Archives and Museum collection facilities.  The panel will develop recommendations for actions, procedures, and physical changes to address collection security issues for the Office of Cultural Education. 


  • The State Education Department Office of Audit Services is conducting a collections inventory control audit of the State Archives and the State Library’s Manuscripts and Special Collections systems.  The audit will assess systems against industry best practices and standards and make recommendations for improvements.




The Regents should receive information on the assessment of existing collections inventory and physical security in the Cultural Education Center.    The Cultural Education Committee should be charged to receive progress reports and to review the final reports.  Based on those reports, the Regents should work with the State Education Department to ensure that the necessary resources are available and practices implemented to further secure the collections of the Library, Archives and Museum.


Timetable for Implementation


Assessment reports should be completed by October 2008 and a timetable for implementation of improvements provided based on those reports by December 2008.