Budget Case Studies: Special
Library and Information Center Management, Eighth Edition
Archives and Special Collections Budget Case
Gloucester Historical Society Library and Archives &
the Nola Lyon Redding Archives
Nola Lyon Redding, c. 1899
The Gloucester Historical Society Library and Archives (GHSLA) is located in a middle sized city on the southern coast of Maine. Gloucester is an old city dating back to the early 1700's and is the county seat of a county of the same name. Gloucester was once primarily a small fishing and ship-building community. Today, it is a favorite destination for tourists from across the world. The city has grown with the years but is still known for its historical charm. There is a medium-sized private university located in the town and a small branch of the state university system. The private university offers BA, MA and Ph.D. degrees in history and a wide variety of other topics.
The Library and Archives is part of the Gloucester History Society (GHS) which is itself a part of county government and the director of the Society reports to the County Manager. However, the GHS is a hybrid organization: part government and part private. That is, the Society was originally a private organization and still maintains a large personal membership in the city and throughout the state. The members elect officers and these officers have an important influence on what happens in the Society, even though it is officially a county agency. The GHS employees give tours of the various historical houses, do some historic preservation work, and edit the historical society journal that is published quarterly.
In the past, the Library and Archives has been a minor part of the GHS. The library and archive is dedicated to acquiring and preserving materials including books, manuscripts, photographs, letters, diaries, business records, reports, minutes, maps, records, club and organization minutes, school records, diaries, marriage licenses, music, ships' lists, newspaper clippings, family genealogies, letters, almanacs, telephone directories, postcards, family movies, documents of all types, friendship cards, military records, and personal papers derived from and relevant to the history of Gloucester County. The GHSLA has been maintained by individuals who had only minimal library or archives training. Nevertheless they have done a pretty good job of cataloging the books, journals, manuscript collections, archival records and serving the public who have come in to use the various collections. An adequate card catalog and manuscript/archives finding aids exist for some of the collection but not in any kind of needed detail (especially for the private papers and archival records).
Two events have recently occurred that indicate that there will be great changes soon at GHSLA. The first is that the Historical Society has recently hired a new director, Raya Glenn, who wants "modern techniques" to be introduced in GHSLA. Glenn says that she would like to see a computer based catalog and finding aids and a better method of answering the several thousand letters from genealogists every year. She also wants to list the archival and manuscript materials in national level finding aids and to prepare better indexes to some collections. In short, she wants to modernize the GHSLA.
The second event is perhaps more significant. The GHSLA has just learned that it is to receive the papers of the famous Maine author, Nola Lyon Redding. Nola Lyon Redding, 1849–1909, American novelist and short-story writer was born in Gloucester, Maine. Her studies of small-town New England life are perceptive, sympathetic, and gently humorous. She published her first article at the age of nineteen and went on to write a number of novels, a collection of children's stories, and many sketches of country life. After contributing to periodicals, she published her first collection of stories and sketches, Gloucester Evening s in 1877. It was followed by such collections as The Queen of Berwick Manor (1888) and her masterpiece, The Sea and its Bounty (1896). Her novels include The Down East Island (1885) and The Reluctant Lover (1901); her best-known novel, Maud and Her Minions (1884), relates the conflicts of a woman physician. Redding fame as increased since her death and she is now widely recognized as one of the best regional writers that the United States has produced. After her death, Redding's papers were inherited by her niece, and they have been kept in the family ever since. The niece's granddaughter , Molly Madison, inherited the papers in 2003 and has decided to give them to GHSLA. This is quite a coup for GHSLA—the Redding Collection will make GHSLA the major depository of a famous American author. The gift includes not only a virtually complete collection of the manuscripts of all of Redding's short stories and novels, but also 300 pieces of correspondence, and almost 50 photographs of Redding and her family. There are also a number of unpublished manuscripts contained in the collection. Madison also gave GHSLA an additional gift of $50,000 to be used for processing the collection.
Since the new Director of the GHS has big plans for GHSLA, it is fortunate that she is able to offer the library and archives more space. The GHSLA has been located in one of the historic homes in the town. This house had been shared with the editorial office of the GHS journal, but the journal operations have been moved to a new location and that gives the GHSLA much more space to expand its operation and to provide a home for the Redding Collection. Up to a 1,500 more square feet of space is now available; Glenn is
Home of the GHSLA
very supportive of buying the appropriate equipment and furnishings for the new space and for updating the area where GHSLA is now located. In fact, Glenn wants to use GHSLA as a showplace to enhance the prestige of the GHS and to attract more members and more donations to the society. The Country Manager has encouraged GHS to build up the library and archive as a way of increasing tourists and has promised additional funding to GHSLA for this purpose. So both the new director and the county manager want GHSLA to change and are willing to provide the funding necessary to make these changes happen. However, both realize that they do not have the expertise necessary to do the planning or even to estimate the funding that will be needed to bring GHSLA into the 21 st century.
At present, GHSLA has only has two clerical employees. The director realizes that not only is more space needed but that GHSLA needs new employees who will have the skills to be able to modernize the organization and to make the Redding Collection available to scholars in an appropriate fashion. Raya Glenn has hired an outside consulting firm that specializes in archives and special collections. You are part of the consulting team that has been hired to provide her with the necessary information about what needs to be done to accomplish her two major objectives of modernizing and making the Redding collection available. Glenn wants your input especially on how the new organization should be organized, what a realistic time line would be, and the budget requirements needed. She would also like advice on where you think additional outside funding might be found to help fund what you propose. Although the Country Manager promised additional funding, and there is also be $50,000 gift from Molly Madison, the Director is interested in identifying other sources of funding so she can make attempts to get additional funding at the same time she approaches the members of GHS to ask for their support.
Your group should work together to prepare the following parts of this assignment. One copy of the budget package should be handed in per group. A group grade will be given for the assignment. The budget package should contain the following parts:
• First describe what you would do to modernize the services of GHSLA. How would you modernize? What would you do first? What would you need to buy? How many people would it take to do this? Create a time line and reasonable line-item budget that would allow you to take on the modernization of the processes of GHSLA. (You will have to make some assumptions here about the present collection. That is fine but indicate these assumptions in your budget plan.)
• Second, what does your group recommend be done with the Redding collection? What would you do to optimize this new resource? Since it has been held by the Redding family, the collection has never been processed in any way. Create a budget that would allow the processing to be done in year. How many additional people would you need to hire? What supplies, equipment, etc., would you need to purchase? Come up with a reasonable line-item budget for all the items that will be needed for this to occur. If you recommend additional outside funding to help with this, explain what you would need to do to get it.
• In the budgets for both projects, provide explanations for the expenses you anticipate and for categories of spending. For as many expenses as possible, provide evidence of why the items in your budget cost what you say they will cost. For instance, if you need to buy acid free containers or specialized equipment, provide the Director, the County Manager and the GHS Board, all of whom will be reviewing your proposed plans and budget, with the costs associated with the purchase of all of these items and where you found information on the costs associated with them. For the employees you propose to have them hire, indicate the level of employee, provide a salary and tell why you are paying the salary proposed.
• Finally, write a cover letter to the Director of GHS. This is the letter that will accompany your consulting report. This letter will provide the justification for the plans you made and budgets you have requested. This letter should be no more than one page in length but it should succinctly highlight your plans. Your committee has been invited to meet with the Director, the County Manager and the GHS Board to present your consulting report, budgets, and to answer their questions about it.
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