Phyllis Ladd: CPA funds can be used for preservation of historical resources

Wednesday, July 01, 2020

To the question posed in the title of a recent article “Is expanding library archives community preservation?,” I would like to respond with a resounding yes.

I disagree with the reported comments of Mr. Saginor of the state’s Community Preservation Coalition, who said that the CPA’s definition of preservation “means direct work on documents, rather than indirect, such as paying for electricity and dehumidifers.”

The Community Preservation Coalition’s own website states: In 2006, the CPA statute was amended to include “documents and artifacts” within the definition of historic resources. Since that time, many communities have used CPA funds for document preservation projects, including document conservation and restoration projects and improvements to storage systems, such as installing climate controls.

To invest in the conservation of individual documents and artifacts without providing the storage conditions which ensure their long-term preservation is a poor use of resources. The CPA, in Section 2, indicates that CPA funds can be used for the “preservation” of historical resources. Preservation is the broader term used to describe a number of actions, including providing an environment that protects historic resources from deterioration over time, while conservation is the term generally used to describe treatment and care of individual documents.

Our history is lost every day in attics, basements, and old town halls around the country. We are fortunate to live in a community with a long rich history and to have a resource like the Jones Library that strives, not only to be a responsible custodian of our history, but to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

Phyllis Ladd