Finance board approves $4,032 records preservation grant
The Board of Finance unanimously approved Town Clerk Lori Kaback’s request to apply for a $4,032 Connecticut State Library’s Historic Document Preservation Program grant for fiscal year 2017 during its special meeting on Thursday, Aug. 25.
The grant “supports municipalities in improving the preservation and management of local government records,” according to the Connecticut State Library website.
Chief Financial Officer Anne Kelly-Lenz told the board the grant — which Wilton’s town clerk has been getting the grant for a couple years — allows the town to put town board and commission meeting minutes in state-approved books, on archival paper.
According to the grant application, town meeting minutes are currently being stored on regular copy paper in boxes in the basement of town hall.
With the funds, Kaback will finish preserving Board of Selectmen meeting minutes on archival paper, then work on the minutes of other boards and commissions, according to the application.
Wilton is requesting $4,000 in grant funds and $32 in local funds in order to scan, microfilm and reproduce 7,200 page of minutes into letter-sized volumes at 56 cents per page, according to the town’s grant application.
According to the Connecticut State Library, the purpose of preservation and conservation projects funded by the grant is to longevity and security of records by:
- Creating backup copies for off-site storage.
- Creating access copies to reduce the handling of originals.
- Addressing records deterioration and damage.
The Connecticut State Library notes that a conservation and preservation project should include microfilming of any records that have not already been microfilmed so that there are off-site backup copies.
“I did a bit of research on if microfilm is dying, and the answer is yes,” said Board of Finance member Richard Creeth.
“The Library of Congress voted in 2009 that records going forward should be digital, but as Congress is prone to do, it hasn’t acted on it yet, so they’re still requiring microfilm.”
Microfilm lasts 500 years, and the people who are pro-microfilm argue that digital records, which need to be copied into a new format every year, is expensive, said Creeth, “but those guys obviously never heard of the cloud.”
Those who are pro-digital, said Creeth, argue that microfilm is “an analog thing” and “if you scratch it and make a copy of a copy, it's a bad copy.”
“To me, the trend is very clear that digital is where we're going,” he said, “but there's a surprising amount of microfilm — more than I expected to see — still out there.”
To learn more about the Connecticut State Library’s Historic Document Preservation Program, visit ctstatelibrary.org/publicrecords/hdpp.