The Commission on Preservation and Access
Newsletter September 1988 Number 4
More on Preservation
Funding For N.E.H. In what appears to be the last critical Congressional action on increased funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities, a House-Senate Conference Committee on August 9 voted a $153 million appropriation for the federal fiscal year beginning October 1, a $12.5 million increase over the current year’s NEH budget. Senate members of the Conference Committee, who had previously passed a status-quo budget for the coming year, agreed with their House colleagues and voted to increase the budget to its new level. Besides closing about a third of the so-called “parity gap” with NEH’s companion organization, the National Endowment for the Arts, the $12.5 million increase represents funding for the first year of a multi-year, nation-wide microfilming program as proposed in an Office of Preservation “capability budget” prepared by NEH at the request of Rep. Sidney Yates (D-IL), chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on Interior and Related Agencies (which has appropriations responsibilities for the agency). Congressman Yates had championed the cause of preservation microfilming throughout hearings before his Subcommittee this past March, and had held a special hearing in April to expand on the problem of brittle materials in the nation’s libraries. His interest in brittle books was initiated in part by a fact-finding hearing conducted last year by Rep. Pat Williams (D-MT), chairman of the House Postsecondary Education Subcommittee, who has also supported the current proposed NEH increase. Congressman Williams and other members of the informal House Arts Caucus had in turn been made aware of the acid paper problem during a visit to the New York Public Library two years ago, where they viewed first-hand the deterioration of library materials caused by acid paper. Since that time many library organizations, including the Council on Library Resources, the Commission on Preservation and Access, and the Association of Research Libraries have provided technical and programmatic information at the request of both House subcommittees. Representatives also testified at hearings, along with leaders of the National Humanities Alliance, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the American Council of Learned Societies, and other organizations. Although Conference Committee agreement is normally tantamount to final passage, both houses of Congress must pass the Conference agreement, after which the bill–part of an Interior and Related Agencies appropriations package–is sent to the President. John Hammer, executive director of the National Humanities Alliance, who worked intensively to coordinate support for the NEH increase among the library, humanities and academic communities, said recently that prospects remained good for passage. Final Congressional and White House action on the bill is expected in September. The Office of Preservation’s current budget is $4.5 million; the $12.5 million budget approved by the Conference Committee represents a significant increase in the Office’s role both within NEH and in the preservation community. The capability budget identifies nearly $7.5 million in the coming year as being set aside for activities related to microfilming of library materials and newspapers. As stated in the capability budget, the contents of more than 3 million brittle books would be preserved over the next 14 years if Congress votes continued support of the program in succeeding years.
Committees on Selection Criteria Commission President Patricia Battin has announced that the Commission has contracted with Henry Riecken, a program officer of the Council on Library Resources, to initiate and provide support to a series of Scholarly Advisory Committees. The purpose of the Committees, to be composed of scholars and librarians, will be: 1) to consider preservation selection criteria in light of the needs of the various academic disciplines; 2) to advise on priorities and program directions within each discipline; 3) to review and assess results as the project progresses, and 4) to act as liaison groups with the academic disciplines. Plans call for a close working relationship among Riecken, Stanley Katz, President of the American Council of Learned Societies, and George Farr, head of NEH’s Office of Preservation, in order to develop a network of relationships with the scholarly community and to achieve an increasing degree of clarity and agreement as to preservation directions. Before coming to the Council last year, Dr. Riecken was Associate Director for Planning and Evaluation of the National Library of Medicine, and is the emeritus Francis Boyer Professor of Behavioral Sciences of the University of Pennsylvania, where he taught psychology and sociology. He is also a former president of the Social Science Research Council and a former Associate Director for Education of the National Science Foundation.
Committee on Role of
Mid-Sized Libraries Paula Kaufman, newly appointed Dean of Libraries of the University of Tennessee, has agreed to chair a committee on the role of mid-sized libraries in the developing national preservation microfilming program. The charge to the committee will be to identify the activities, contributions and productive linkages of mid-sized institutions to the proposed NEH-funded microfilming program.
Commission on Preservation and Access
1400 16th Street, NW, Suite 740 Washington, DC 20036-2217 (202) 939-3400 Fax: (202) 939-3407 The Commission on Preservation and Access was established in 1986 to foster and support collaboration among libraries and allied organizations in order to ensure the preservation of the published and documentary record in all formats and to provide enhanced access to scholarly information. The Newsletter reports on cooperative national and international preservation activities and is written primarily for university administrators and faculty, library and archives administrators, preservation specialists and administrators, and representatives of consortia, governmental bodies, and other groups sharing in the Commission’s goals. The Newsletter is not copyrighted; its duplication and distribution are encouraged.Patricia Battin–President
Peter Winterble–Program Officer, Editor Pamela D. Block–Administrative Assistant Return to CLIR Home Page >>