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Meeting of the Board of Regents | April 2008

Tuesday, April 1, 2008 - 8:20am

sed seal                                                                                                 




signature of Jeff Cannell






Partnership for New York’s Cultural Heritage

IMLS Connecting to Collections: Statewide Planning Grant



March 20, 2008









Issue for Discussion


              Partnership for New York’s Cultural Heritage, a Connecting to Collections: Statewide Planning Grant awarded to the New York State Library, State Archives, and State Museum.


Reason(s) for Consideration


              For information.


Proposed Handling


              The Cultural Education Committee will hear an update on the Partnership for New York’s Cultural Heritage, a project funded by a Connecting to Collections: Statewide Planning Grant awarded to the Office of Cultural Education (OCE) by the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). Representatives from the New York State Library and State Archives will describe how the grant will enable the State Library, Archives, and Museum to address the preservation and conservation needs of New York’s cultural institutions statewide.


Procedural History


The Education Department submitted the grant proposal in October 2007 through IMLS’s Connecting to Collections: Statewide Planning Grant program. The Institute’s mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. OCE received notification of the grant award in January 2008.


OCE will collaborate with its project partners and expert advisors on the development, content, and distribution of a statewide survey. Partners include the New York State Council on the Arts, the New York Library Association, the Museum Association of New York State, and other similar organizations. Tom Clareson of PALINET will serve as consultant to the project to develop survey content, data collection, analyses, and the final report. PALINET is a cooperative membership organization representing hundreds of libraries, information centers, museums, archives, and other similar organizations nationwide that promotes cooperation and resource sharing.


The survey will be distributed to libraries, museums, archives, and other cultural institutions throughout New York State in September 2008. Regional survey assistance sessions to help institutions work with the survey will be announced. The survey will result in a statewide action plan. The final report is expected to be released in September 2009 and will provide a blueprint for future preservation efforts.


Background Information


New York has long invested in the preservation of its cultural resources. The New York State Library, Archives, and Museum have led this effort as stewards of the collections of the people of New York and as providers of services and funds to cultural institutions statewide. The three institutions have invested over $50 million in preservation of collections and provided countless preservation workshops, site visits, surveys, and disaster aid, among many other preservation services. However, despite their common goals and overlapping constituencies, these three institutions have seldom collaborated to assess and respond to the preservation needs of the cultural heritage community in New York. The Partnership for New York’s Cultural Heritage proposal is the first effort to combine forces to reach out to the keepers of New York’s cultural resources in a systematic and comprehensive way.


OCE has canvassed the cultural heritage community several times in the past decades, but the data on institutions’ needs are out of date and incomplete. Past data collection efforts have effectively driven planning and passage of legislation to support preservation. Evidence and current data are key to effecting improvements in collections stewardship statewide.


This planning grant will enable an effective survey/assessment of the needs of New York’s cultural collections, including emergency preparedness, preservation, and management of electronic (“nonbook”) media. OCE has strong relationships with repositories statewide through grant programs, field staff, and relationships with the regional history and professional organizations. The State Archives has staff in nine regions statewide to deliver archives and records services; OCE expects to use a regional approach to delivering assistance to cultural heritage institutions responding to the project survey.




              Staff recommend that the Regents support OCE’s efforts to promote and enhance conservation and preservation of New York’s rich cultural resources throughout the state.


Timetable for Implementation


              The project, including a statewide survey of institutions and regional assistance sessions, will result in a statewide action plan and final report by September 2009.