2008 News Releases
Austin – The Institute of Museum and Library Services has awarded the Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC), the Texas Historical Commission (THC), and four additional partners a $40,000 Connecting to Collections Statewide Planning grant to establish a statewide framework for the assessment and care of the collections of Texas libraries, archives, museums, and other institutions.
Texas is home to more than 700 public, academic, and special libraries; over 600 museums of history, art, science, and natural history; and innumerable historical and genealogical societies, corporate, government, and special archives, and other cultural heritage institutions. With so many collections, Texas institutions could benefit greatly from collaboration. Texas State Librarian Peggy D. Rudd notes, “Many collections in Texas are in danger of being lost forever due to neglect, lack of resources, and lack of awareness. This grant allows the State Library and its partners to leverage expertise for the future benefit of all library and archives institutions in the state.”
Connecting to Collections, a program of the Institute of Museum and Library Services, is a multi-year, multi-faceted national initiative to raise public awareness about the collections that tell the story of America’s diverse heritage. IMLS developed the initiative in response to a 2005 national report, "A Public Trust at Risk: The Heritage Health Index Report on the State of America’s Collections," which concluded that immediate action was needed to prevent the loss of 190 million artifacts nationwide in need of conservation treatment.
The six partners in this project, the Texas State Library and Archives Commission, the Texas Historical Commission, Amigos Library Services, the Texas Association of Museums, the Texas Library Association, and the Kilgarlin Center for Preservation of the Cultural Record at the University of Texas at Austin’s School of Information, are collaborating over a two-year period to develop a single combined database of libraries, archives, government agencies, and museums in the state that can be used to coordinate disaster management and preservation efforts.
The partners will also survey approximately 200 institutions to measure the number and types of collections they hold as well as the institutions' training and funding needs. In future phases, this will be expanded to a comprehensive statewide survey of cultural heritage institutions. The resulting knowledge bank will be available through a single Web site, allowing researchers to discover collections of interest to them, while providing institutions a convenient and comprehensive source for preservation and collections care strategies.
Notes Rudd, “We’ve made significant progress raising awareness and collaboration in the realm of digital collections, through the Texas Heritage Digitization Initiative and Texas Heritage Online. But it’s just not feasible to digitize everything. We must protect and preserve our archival collections in perpetuity.”
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