Volume 29, Number 3, Fall 2007

Delaware Begins Preservation Initiatives

Lisa Olson, Delaware Division of Libraries

The Delaware Division of Libraries (DDL) has entered into an agreement with the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC) to offer a full-day workshop in Delaware on Wednesday, September 26, 2007, titled "How to Survey Your Preservation Needs." The Maine State Library has deposited $10,000 with NEDCC for each interested state library in the northeast to promote preservation planning; this opportunity also will fund, in part, on-site assessments at libraries that have unique historical items.

The goal of the NEDCC’s program is to enable state libraries to analyze the preservation needs of critical collections in public libraries. The initiative grows out of a desire to stimulate a multi-state preservation effort as a focus for developing a new relationship (based on a fee-for-service model) between the state libraries in the region and the NEDCC, resulting from the restructuring of the center’s governance.

The expected outcomes of the program are to enable the state libraries to develop a better picture of the preservation needs of public libraries in their states, to help individual libraries understand their needs and priorities for action, and to advance any existing funding programs for preservation and help shape new ones. In addition, the program will be useful to the DDL in identifying critical collections that might be part of a future, state-wide digitization initiative.

So far, thirteen libraries have requested the on-site assessments which will take place between November 2007 and April 2008. There also were sixteen participants registered for the September workshop at the time of this writing.

The NEDCC initiative is just one of three related preservation projects for the state of Delaware. DDL is involved in a second initiative with another state agency, the Delaware Digital Preservation Readiness Team. This group is working towards assessing the current state of digital preservation and developing a plan that can later be implemented to preserve state and government information.

DDL also is partnering with the Delaware Public Archives to promote awareness and action for a statewide disaster consortium. This group, the Delaware Disaster Assistance Team (DDAT), is composed of individuals statewide from libraries, museums and other cultural organizations. The goal is to have each organization update its disaster plan and to create a central location in each county containing disaster supplies. DDAT applied for a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) to bring a consultant to Delaware who will provide guidance with the group’s strategy to develop disaster planning awareness and assistance statewide. The results of the grant award will be made in January 2008.

For more information, contact Lisa Olson.