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Preservation Interest Group

Guide to provide a forum to learn and share ideas about the various aspects of preservation.

Meeting Overview

The September 26, 2018 Preservation Interest Group meeting on the price of preservation and getting grants for preservation was attended by 8 people representing 7 Capital District institutions.

Facilitators Ann C. Kearney and Karen E. Kiorpes, both from the University at Albany, began by asking participants what sort of preservation issues they would like addressed. The group discussed advocating for preservation within your institution, setting preservation priorities, determining the cost of preservation and how to write an effective preservation grant proposal. 

The next meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, November 27, 2018, 9:30 - 11:00 am at The University at Albany Preservation Lab. The meeting will include creating enclosures for archival and special collections material, setting up a basic preservation workspace, and a tour of the University at Albany Preservation Lab. The meeting will include hands-on demonstrations. 

Meeting Notes

How can we promote the importance of preservation?

  • Preservation is often seen as a luxury, especially in today's society of cheap and throwaway items. 
  • Karen Kiorpes recommended having a list of preservation supplies or procedures that you need in case someone unexpectedly offers money. The list should contain things at various price points. She mentioned that developing a short "elevator speech" for potential funders or donors is useful. 
  • Collaborate - think of ways to enlarge your community and circle of supporters so people outside the library are also promoting preservation. 
  • Be mission driven - have "preserve" in your mission statement
  • One participant said that it was easier to get people interested after she got a little bit of money. Used the money to do something with the collection and showcased it, which led to more support. 

Preparing for preservation grants

  • First think about what you can do in house and what needs to be sent out - different sorts of grants. 
  • Count users and researchers and get idea of what they are interested in so can argue for the value of the project. 
  • Set up rough budget and cost estimates for both internal preservation spending and grants. Costs might include:
    • Supplies and equipment
    • Services
    • Labor costs, if directly related to the project. 
  • Cost share
    • Even if grant doesn't ask for cost share, provide information on what you will contribute. Shows commitment. 

Preservation survey is good type of preservation grant to start with. The grant funds a preservation consultant to survey facility and provide short, medium and long term goals. Use these goals to develop a preservation plan. Having a preservation plan and including it as an appendix in future grant applications will increase your chances of getting those grants. 

Grant application tips

  • Be realistic about what you can achieve in the grant time period. 
  • Be clear about what you want to achieve.
  • Describe why project is important - not just "books are falling apart," but "these are important books to preserve due to their historical value for our community." 
  • Repeat goals and objective and how each step of the grant project will help you achieve those goals. 
  • Spell out a clear plan 
  • Show how project will help your audience. You need to identify your main audiences to write a good grant proposal. 
  • Propose a project that is sustainable after grant money runs out. 
  • Start with very visible project, something that makes a splash to raise support for archives.
  • Ask someone unconnected to project to review grant application.

Common grant mistakes

  • Applying for something grant does not fund. 
  • Not following grant guidelines
  • Not enough cost-sharing
  • Narrative and budget don't match. Everything that is in the budget should be included in the narrative. 

Other discussion

  • Question about the PEM monitors that were donated to CDLC. Susan D'Entremont will investigate what software CDLC needs to get these operational and loan them out. 
  • Would be useful, especially for small organizations that haven't received grants before, to have preservation mini-grants with simple applications, similar to RBDB grants. Susan D'Entremont will suggest to CDLC administration. 


Next Meeting

***IMPORTANT: The next meeting will be at the University at Albany Preservation Lab ***

Tuesday, November 27, 9:30-11:00 am

The topic is Enclosures & Setting Up a Preservation Work Station: Simplify Collection Preservation

We will discuss enclosures and setting up a basic preservation workstation on a budget. Topics will include determining which enclosures (e.g. folders, sleeves, boxes) are best for protecting your collections, making and purchasing enclosures, evaluating vendors, and prioritizing purchases.

The group will also explore options for setting up a basic workstation so you can do simple procedures yourself. 

There will also be a tour of the University at Albany Preservation Lab led by Ann Kearney and Karen Kiorpes.

For more information and to register, visit




Meeting Handouts

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