DATE: July 25, 2008
MBLC Receives National Preservation Award
The Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners has received the 2008 Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections. This annual award is selected by a panel of distinguished conservation experts from across the nation and is presented jointly by Heritage Preservation and the American Institute for Conservation of Historic and Artistic Works (AIC).
For the last 20 years, the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioner’s (MBLC) commitment to preservation has helped library and archival collections all across Massachusetts. MBLC began a statewide preservation program in 1988 which included a series of preservation workshops on topics such as care and handling of library archival materials, disaster preparedness and recovery, basic repair of library and archival materials, and collections security.
In 1998, the MBLC initiated the Emergency Assistance Program to assist organizations in disasters. Components of the program include training workshops, disaster supply caches at sixteen locations across the state, technical assistance through MBLC or the Northeast Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), and a “weather alert” email system.
MBLC also worked closely with the NEDCC to develop dPlan an online disaster-planning tool, in 2001. This free resource is available for any library, archive, or museum and provides a template for organizations to create a disaster plan.
The Award panelists were impressed with MBLC’s exemplary efforts to promote preservation efforts and emergency assistance across Massachusetts. Lawrence L. Reger, President of Heritage Preservation, added, “The 2005 Heritage Health Index survey of our nation's collections found that 78% of public libraries do not have an emergency plan with staff trained to carry it out. I commend the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners for addressing this statistic by providing resources to help libraries develop and implement an emergency plan.”
The Award for Outstanding Commitment to the Preservation and Care of Collections has been presented on an annual basis since 1999. Previous recipients include nationally prominent organizations such as Colonial Williamsburg and the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and smaller institutions such as the Historical Society of Frederick County (MD) and the Bata Shoe Museum in Toronto. In 2007, the Cleveland Public Library received the award.
The award was presented to the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners on July 10 at the MBLC Board Meeting. The MBLC was one of two recipients of the award. Arizona State Museum was also honored with the award.
The Board of Library Commissioners (mass.gov/mblc) is the agency of state government with the statutory authority and responsibility to organize, develop, coordinate and improve library services throughout the Commonwealth. The Board advises municipalities and library trustees on the operation and maintenance of public libraries, including construction and renovation. It administers state and federal grant programs for libraries and promotes cooperation among all types of libraries through regional library systems and automated resource sharing. It also works to ensure that all residents of the Commonwealth, regardless of their geographic location, social or economic status, age, level of physical or intellectual ability or cultural background, have access to essential new electronic information technologies and significant electronic databases.