Friday, 26 December 2014

Lynne Stacpoole Caring for Your Collection Grant

Small museums increasing their resources

Launceston Mechanics' Institute,1861. Photographer, William Cawston
The Lynne Stacpoole Caring for Your Collection program provides smaller community collections and museums $1 000 to purchase assets to assist in the preservation or presentation of their collection.

 In 2015, three small museums and collections will receive funding through the program.

The funds for this program were generously donated to Arts Tasmania by former Tasmanian Arts Advisory Board member, and past chair of the Small Museums and Collections Panel, Mrs Lynne Stacpoole.
Most small museums in Tasmania are volunteer run, and can find it difficult to secure funds for capital items. Arts Tasmania’s principal support program for these collections, the Small Museums and Collections program, excludes capital items.
Recipients of the 2015 Lynne Stacpoole Caring for Your Collection program are:
             Ulverstone History Museum, which is administered by the Central Coast Council.  This museum will receive $1 000 towards the purchase of a data projector, which will assist in sharing images from its collection with the public.
             The Launceston Tramway Museum.  This museum will receive $1 000 towards the purchase of blinds to protect its collection from light damage.
             Friends of the Launceston Mechanics' Institute.  This organisation will use their grant of $1 000 towards the purchase of an upright glass display cabinet, to allow them to show more objects from their collection to the public.

 Arts Tasmania
Thursday, 19 December 2014

Friday, 14 November 2014

FOLMI Meeting Minutes 11 November 2014

Minutes of the meeting of Friends of the Launceston Mechanics’ Institute
held in the Phil Leonard Room, Launceston LINC, at 4 pm. on Tuesday 11 November 2014.

Present: Jenny Gill, Andrew Parsons, Bob McKinnon, Lucille Gee, Mary Dent, Helen Stuart, Angela Prosser-Green, Gus Green, Keith Adkins, Mike McCausland, Prue McCausland, Peter Richardson, Sarah Katarzynski, Richard Pickup, Sue McClarron, Emily McClarron, John Dent, Nella Pickup
Apologies:  Stefan Petrow, Julieanne Richards, Pam Baragwanath, Dorothy Rosemann, Gill Morris, Lorraine Scales, Anna Lynde.

Minutes of the last ordinary meeting of FOLMI on the 2 May 2014 had been distributed by email shortly afterwards; there was no business arising from them to be dealt with.

Correspondence: The secretary summarised, rather than read out, the main matters occurring in written and emailed correspondence since the last meeting. They consisted of exchanges with LINC Tasmania and QVMAG concerning the distribution of parts of the LMI Collection between the three agencies, and applications for grants from the Community Heritage Grants scheme (for a significance assessment of the Collection) and Arts Tasmania (for a display case under the Lynne Stacpoole Caring for your Collection Grant Program). Moved Mike McCausland, seconded Bob McKinnon that the report be endorsed.

Finances: The treasurer reported that the current balance was $2406. An account of $467.88 was presented for the purchase of a plane ticket for Dr Susan Marsden to come to Launceston from Adelaide to conduct a significance assessment. Moved Richard Pickup, seconded Gus Green that the report be received and the account paid.  Carried.

Community Heritage Grant Award: The president reported on FOLMI’s success in winning an award to have a significance assessment conducted on the LMI Collection, on his trip to Canberra to receive the award and attend a three-day workshop, and on the securing of Dr Susan Marsden to undertake the assessment.

Progress of work on the LMI Collection: Peter Richardson reported on several projects –  listed in the President's report below – including: comparison of the holdings in the Collection with those listed in TROVE and  those at the Ballaarat Mechanics’ Institute; a survey of printed catalogues of the LMI; photographing of the four accession registers available; recording all LMI books in the Launceston Local Studies collections; separating out books from other institutions and libraries and transferring them to the QVMAG; and investigating interesting aspects of the Collection such as the 100+ volumes of Dr Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia, books by and about lady travellers and explorers, and publishing on the FOLMI blogspot and Flickr website galleries of bookplates, binders tickets, invitations and members’ tickets.

Housing the Collection:  the president reported that although a variety of avenues to find a permanent home had been pursued, none had been successful as yet. Discussion of further possibilities followed, and a resolution was passed to follow several of these up.

Call for volunteers for projects: The secretary outlined two possible larger projects that would entail participation by numbers of members. One, already begun by Sue and Emily McClarron, is the digitising of entries in the accession registers.  This would be most efficiently conducted in pairs, and would create a spreadsheet recording the accession number, author, short title and other details from what was essentially a stock record of all items once held by the LMI. By experience Sue and Emily found that each page takes more than half an hour to type up, and as there are over 1200 pages in the registers, this is a very long-term task. The second project is to make an inventory of the nonfiction books now shelved in D007 at UTAS. This involves people working in pairs, one to read out the identification and publication details of each book in order on the shelf and the other to handwrite the details onto a form. Several pairs could work at the same time, and record sheets organised in a filing cabinet in D007. It is important to complete this task while books are openly accessible; there is uncertainty whether they may need to be reboxed in March 2015. Mary Dent pointed out that she and another staff member had made a card catalogue of all books in the Stack at Launceston Library , which covered the nonfiction. It was agreed that a thorough search would be made for the card catalogue, and if it was not found the project to make the inventory would begin immediately.  Members present indicated their willingness to be involved, and an invitation to all members is to be circulated.

Significance assessment: Peter Richardson outlined arrangements for Dr Marsden’s visit to conduct the significance assessment. She will be in Launceston 7-11 December, and spend some time at QVMAG and Launceston LINC, but will mostly be based at D007. She will be given access to all parts of the Collection and supplied with as much information about the Collection as FOLMI and existing records can provide. It was suggested that members be invited to meet her on the afternoon of Wednesday to learn about the assessment process and outcome to that stage.

“What the Mechanics’ Institute means to me”: In order to extend the scope of oral history accounts of the LMI members are asked to jot down their memories of the Institute, even if these are only of passing by the building or seeing it demolished, but ideally would be about using the library or attending events there. Members are also asked to gather stories from friends and relatives who may have frequented the building or heard accounts from parents or others. Attached is a notice outlining the idea.  It would be particularly useful to have these stories available to pass on to Dr Marsden as assessor by 8 December.

General discussion of issues raised during the meeting followed, and the meeting concluded at 5:15pm.

President's Report - November 2014

Friends of the Launceston Mechanics' Institute
President's Report 11 November 2014

1.      Report on the CHG award and workshop on significance assessment
Firstly, my thanks to the FOLMI executive for allowing me to attend on behalf of the group, and for the opportunity to participate in the workshops.
The Community Heritage Grants program (CHG) is an initiative of the National Library of Australia. The Community Heritage Grants (CHG) program provides grants of up to $15,000 to community organisations such as libraries, archives, museums, genealogical and historical societies, multicultural and Indigenous groups. The grants are provided to assist with the preservation of locally owned, but nationally significant collections of materials that are publicly accessible including artefacts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs, and audio visual material. In 2014, 73 grants were awarded, totalling $386,577.

The most important thing I learnt was that the CHG program can operate in progressive stages. You must start with a grant to carry out a Significance Assessment. Then you can move on to a Preservation Needs Assessment, then progress to further grants for conservation activities, collection management and training. The thing I'm going to concentrate on today is Significance Assessment. Most of the groups attending were at this stage, and a lot of the workshop activity was around getting a better handle on what was meant by Significance Assessment.

Perhaps the best way to approach SA is that it is to museums and movable heritage what the Burra Charter is to built heritage.
It is above all a way of determining where a collection fits in the National Heritage Collection.
Significance defines the meanings and values of a cultural heritage item or collection through research and analysis, and by assessment against a standard set of criteria.

These criteria are central to establishing the status of your collection.
There are four Primary Criteria or Values – Historic, Aesthetic, Social and Research - and three comparative criteria; Provenance, Rarity/Representativeness, Condition and Interpretive Potential.
These are the key areas investigated by a qualified assessor who provides a report and a statement of significance.

The important thing is that a collection only needs to be found to be of national significance in ONE each of the primary and the comparative criteria.
So in our case we would be looking at Historic, Social and Research Values of our collection – and its rarity as a surviving MI collection as well as its representativeness as library collection of a type that was important to the development of the country – comparing it to the very few similar collections that have survived.  But we would also have claims to outstanding provenance and untapped potential for research and interpretation. The one thing we lack is the building that housed the collection.

We have been very fortunate to have engaged Dr Susan Marsden an eminent historian from South Australia to carry out our assessment.
Susan is an associate member of Significance International, and also President of the History Council of South Australia and an appointed member of the State Records Council (SA) and of the Register Committee of the SA Heritage Council. Past employment includes seven years as South Australian State Historian, Visiting Fellow in the Urban Research Program at the Australian National University, and National Conservation Manager at the Australian Council of National Trusts.
As the key element of her assessment Susan will be here for a site visit from Sunday December 7 until Thursday the 11th. Hopefully we can arrange an opportunity for members and supporters to meet her during her visit.

Finally, I wanted to briefly outline our timeframe for completing the SA and moving to the next phase.
Because of the uncertainty around our tenure at UTAS, we are anxious to keep moving quickly. There is an opportunity to complete the SA by April, the earliest possible date for submission and so be able to apply for further funding in the 2015 round which closes on May 4 2015. If we waited until the final report deadline in November, we would not be able to apply for more funding until 2016. The next step would be for us to have a Preservation Needs Assessment done which would focus on the state of the collection and the urgent need for suitable storage, care and access. Also, if the SA demonstrates that the collection is of national significance we will be much better placed to pursue further funding from other sources, so it becomes a crucial document for our future.

2.      Report on progress in work on the LMI Collection
These are some of the volunteer projects  that have been undertaken  since our last meeting;

       The delivery of the LMI collection to us from LINC Tasmania has been completed with the transfer of the Popular Fiction Collection. I should qualify this by saying that further items continue to arrive as the LINC staff finalise their reorganisation of the Launceston library building, and in the last few weeks more books, maps and catalogues have arrived.
       We have conducted a detailed survey of a large sample of the non-fiction collection comparing it with holdings in other collections;
LMI Non-fiction Sample (n=367)
TROVE Listed
1.      Libraries listed on Trove held 276 titles in the same edition as that held by LMI (75.2%). Of these 53 (14.4% of the sample) were held by only one other library.
2.      Libraries listed on Trove held a further 47 titles but only in a different edition to that held by LMI. (12.8%)
3.      Libraries listed on Trove offered access to a further 39 titles in digital format but did not hold the printed book. i.e. only LMI held a print copy of these titles. (10.6%)
4.      LMI held copies of a further 5 titles that were not listed on Trove in either print or microform editions and for which no digital access was available. (1.4%)
Ballarat MI
Of the 367 titles in our sample, 86 were found on the Ballarat NF database (23.4%).
However of these 31 were the same title but in a different edition, so there were only 55 exact matches (14.9%).
       Sue McClarron has completed a detailed descriptive survey of all known printed catalogues of the Institute which has provided valuable insights to the way the collection was organised and reorganised as it grew through the nineteenth century.
       We have a complete set of digital photographs of all known surviving Accession Registers, from 1881 to 1945.
       We have identified and recorded all LMI books still held in the Launceston Local Studies collections.
       We have instigated several projects to highlight items of special interest in the collection – including surveys of our holdings of Dr Lardner's Cabinet Cyclopedia (over 100 items), books by and about lady travellers and explorers (something Anna Lynde one of our volunteers has been working on for the last two months), the survival rate of books in the 1906 Polynesian collection, collected and published galleries of bookplates, binders tickets, invitation and membership tickets on a Flickr website, we have recorded the collection's holdings of Nineteenth Century first edition novels in two- and three- volumes (known as the Three-Decker Collection).
       In partnership with Andrew Parsons the librarian at QVMAG, we have identified and transferred books from other institutes and old public libraries such as Evandale, Deloraine, and local circulation and church libraries, to the QVMAG collection.

Peter Richardson

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

FOLMI Meeting 11 November

Dear members of FOLMI and supporters of the project to save the Launceston Mechanics’ Institute Collection,
After waiting since April for the outcome of our application, the good news is that FOLMI has been given a national award of $5,566 to have a professional significance assessment conducted of the LMI Collection.  It’s the crucial step that could have the LMI recognised as being of national importance. The announcement was made in Canberra last week, and Peter Richardson as the representative of FOLMI went there to receive the award and to attend a National Library workshop for successful applicants.
To hear a report on the workshop and progress in working with the Collection, FOLMI is holding a meeting next week. The meeting will also be to plan for the coming significance assessment and to call for volunteers to undertake the next phases of working with the Collection: making an inventory of the nonfiction and digitising the accession registers.
The meeting is on:
Tuesday 11 November 4pm in the Phil Leonard Room
1       Opening and welcome; apologies
2       Correspondence
3       Financial report
4       Report on the CHG award and workshop on significance assessment
5       Report on progress in work on the LMI Collection
6       The search to find a permanent home for the Collection
7       Upcoming projects and call for volunteers
8       Open discussion: the way forward
9       AOB and close
Everyone interested in the LMI Collection, and perhaps in contributing to the work in shaping its future is welcome!
Peter Richardson & Mike McCausland

Friends of the Launceston Mechanics' Institute awarded federal Community Heritage Grant

Friends of the Launceston Mechanics' Institute has been awarded a federal Community Heritage Grant to fund a significance assessment of its book collection.
The grant was announced at the National Library of Australia, Canberra, on Tuesday, 28 October, 2014.
This year, grants worth $386,577 have been distributed to 73 community groups and organisations from around Australia to assist in the identification and preservation of community owned but nationally significant heritage collections. In addition, Peter Richardson from FOLMI attended a three-day intensive preservation and collection management workshop held at the National Library, the National Archives of Australia, the National Museum of Australia and the National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra.
Mr Richardson said the grant was important in supporting the effort to preserve the Institute's book collection at the grassroots level. “While the grant provides the funds, the workshop offers the expertise to help us protect our collection and make it accessible while it remains in the local context,” he said.
Director-General of the National Library of Australia, Ms Anne-Marie Schwirtlich, said the CHG program showed the commitment by the National Library, along with its partner institutions and the Federal Government, in encouraging communities to care for the nation’s heritage, be it in small country towns or capital cities.
“It is all about working together to help spread the message that if we don’t preserve our history now, it could be lost forever,” she said. “Through sharing this knowledge, the information can be taken back to the communities where it is most needed to ensure that local heritage collections are still there for future generations.”
The grant money is used for significance assessments, preservation needs assessments, conservation treatments, preservation training, digitisation, and purchasing quality storage materials or environmental monitoring equipment.

The Community Heritage Grants Program is funded by the Australian Government through the National Library of Australia; Ministry for the Arts, Attorney-General’s Department; the National Archives of Australia; the National Film and Sound Archive; and the National Museum of Australia.