Building the Budget: Meeting Major Funding Demands for Preservation and Security and Successfully Promoting Your Program
Funding for Preservation: The Strengths of Our Past

Nancy E. Gwinn
Smithsonian Institution

This paper considers the plight of all cultural institutions in finding adequate funds to support today's preservation needs. The words "preserve" and "conserve" are mainly 20th-century terms to describe the needs of collections beyond simple storage and security. Scientific investigation has revealed the extent of these needs, from neutralizing acid in paper to rescuing the content on nitrate films, to handling arsenic-treated specimens, to removing asbestos from historic buildings. What used to be a matter of storage and security has become a much more serious and expensive preservation problem. With growing pressures on libraries to make collections more accessible, to employ new digitizing techniques, and to compete successfully with the array of modern distractions, it is not surprising that managers may sometimes handle collections needs as they do physical facilities, as targets for deferred maintenance. But the new century shows there are also great opportunities. The author describes a recent survey of members of the Association of Research Libraries that provide a relatively upbeat picture over the last five years, with several real achievements noted along with future challenges. For example, the appearance of several preservation endowments on campuses signals better marketing of preservation needs and rising interest from individual donors. The author describes her experience at the Smithsonian Institution Libraries in building a preservation program. Although initial attention focused elsewhere, one of the most valuable aspects for fund-raising is the Libraries' Book Conservation Laboratory. Donors find the work performed by conservators fascinating. Libraries can learn from museums how important the emotional appeal of the artifact is and how it can be used to convey the broader preservation needs to potential donors.

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