Sonoma County Library awarded grant to protect special collections

Submitted by edawson on August 21, 2019 - 11:02am
  • Photo caption: Library staff and other organizations participate in the WESTPAS Protecting Cultural Collections

    Library staff and other organizations participate in the WESTPAS Protecting Cultural Collections: Prevention, Preparedness, Response & Recovery Workshop at Central Santa Rosa Library on November 29, 2017. (Front: Sonoma County Library Head Cataloger Geoffrey Skinner and right, WESTPAS co-coordinator Julie Page.)

Sonoma County Library has been awarded a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Preservation Assistance Grant. The award will aid in the continued care and protection of the library’s historical materials through the purchase of equipment and supplies that support proper environmental monitoring and storage as well as disaster prevention and recovery for its irreplaceably valuable collections. The staff of the History & Genealogy Library, located in downtown Santa Rosa, will lead the project with support from the library’s facilities team.

“This award will fund the purchase of environmental monitoring units, shelving for oversized archival materials and disaster recovery supplies that can easily be mobilized during an emergency,” said Sonoma County History & Genealogy Library Manager Katherine Rinehart. “As caretakers of Sonoma County’s history, we are pleased to be able to further ensure the care and protection of our unique special collections.”

The grant’s period is from September 2019 to February 2021 and is in the amount of $7,663.

The October 2017 fires directly threatened the library’s off-site storage of county government records. As part of a larger community effort to find a new home for the archive, library staff sought funding to improve collection management and enhance rapid response to threats to special collections held at the off-site archive, the Wine Library in Healdsburg, the Petaluma History Room and the History & Genealogy Library.

The library’s special collections and archives span from the early 19th century to the present and are particularly strong in the areas of local government, architecture and urban development, agriculture, Native history and culture, women’s history, transportation, arts, immigration and the history of settlement in Sonoma County.

The NEH grant proposal was designed to implement recommendations from a 2018 preservation needs assessment funded by the California State Library’s Preservation Program, as well as best practices outlined in a series of disaster preparedness and recovery workshops.

The grant compliments other efforts Sonoma County Library has made to expand documentation of the county’s history, including a web archiving project, North Bay Fires 2017, that is part of a national public library web archiving initiative led by Internet Archive.

History Event

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this news post do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.

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