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Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners Resource Guide Collection

Collections Preservation Guidance for Libraries in Massachusetts

Subscribe and connect with Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners (MBLC) Preservation Specialist Evan Knight and colleagues around the Commonwealth that work to advance the protection of cultural collections.

Assessment 1: Institutional Background

Assessment 2: Collections Information

Assessment 3: Location Assessments

Related MBLC Service - Preservation Assessment Grants (Annual)

Why take Self-Assesments?

"Special Collections" can be comprised of all sorts of objects: scrapbooks, photographs, stamps, paintings, ephemera, posters, maps, pamphlets, books, memorabilia, rocks, lepidoptera, furniture, seeds, "Library of Things" objects, built architecture, sneakers, and many more. Special objects can provide extremely rich experiential and educational opportunities for those that interact with them. However, their management often come with significant challenges in their cataloging, storage, and accessibility. This "Self Assessment" worksheet is intended to help identify the risks to your special collections by breaking down their management into approachable sections.

This practical template is intended to provide a current snapshot of your institution's special collections management practices, and should be useful for many types of institution and collections formats. The template can be filled out periodically, and in effect, be your institution's record of preservation activities. Completing this template is required for certain LSTA-funded MBLC grant programs.

There are three sections: Institutional Background; Collections Information; and Location Assessments. It is expected that each section will take about 20 minutes to complete, for a total expected time to completion of one hour. If you like a hard copy of the template as you prepare and gather data before submitting it electronically, simply print the document on the next page from your browser.

The template expands and supersedes MBLC's "Critical Collections Questionnaire" document, and was further influenced by the framework of University of Ilinois' "Preservation Self-Assessment Program" (PSAP). Larger institutions are recommended to consider enrolling in PSAP themselves.

Contact Mr. Knight with any questions via email or at 617-725-1860 x236.