SPEC Kit 347: Community-based Collections · 65
Never had stable funding, so it’s never grown as much as it could. Trying to decide how best (and with whom) to collect
the other aspects of the community’s history. With three exceptions, the volunteers and students never stay with the
project as long as we would want or need.
Not knowing how many community members are using the digitized collection. Maintaining high-level of staff outreach
when there are so many other collections needing such.
Online availability (materials not yet digitized).
Poor project management. Too many collaborators with no clear agreed upon decision-making process or clearly
defined responsibilities. Too much reliance on graduate assistants to do professional work.
Preservation and conservation are big needs for this collection. Many of the records are fragile, and the space we
currently are storing them in does not always guarantee a steady temperature and relative humidity. Space itself is
an issue as more and more churches close, and more agencies recognize that they need to send their records to the
archives. Currently, this ever-growing collection is housed with other collections held by the school of theology library
in a room that is not an adequate size for an archives. Work on this large collection is only part of my job. Coming into
this position, I did not know I was the archivist for an institution with small groups in nearly every town in five states,
plus agencies, and the New England Conference governing bodies. It has been a challenge to understand who the
major players are and how to get the questions I need answered in a system that is highly democratized with a larger
than normal turnover of personnel. There is very little institutional memory among the people I interact with on both the
church and agency level (pastors and administrators leave or move to other positions in the conference). Funding for this
collection will soon become a larger issue as more churches close, and more agencies recognize that they have records
in their possession that should be stored at the library.
Protecting personal information. Access (dissemination of) to records with personal information. Copyright.
Protecting the privacy of individuals who may have struggled while still making their stories accessible.
Redundancy of some records. Little regular contact with the organization.
Space. Staff. Financial resources. (2 responses)
Space constraints. Processing costs. Maintaining relationships on an ongoing basis.
Storage: our storage facility is beyond capacity. Lack of funding to support collections long term (including storage,
research, preservation, etc.) Since the community organization processes the collections, they hold the expertise on the
collections. This can make reference challenging.
Strategically planning collection development with the passing of the WWII generation. Promoting instructional and
educational use by our own faculty. Developing new digital initiatives to leverage research and scholarship.
The inability of the university to understand the challenges. The inability of the community to understand the university.
The lack of funding.
The relationship is strong, yet casual. It would be great to revive this connection and have active acquisition and
outreach activities.
This requires a substantial investment of time that often spills over into weekends and evenings. It requires institutional
support, which the Libraries has generously provided.
While rewarding, the connection with victims’ families can also be a challenge. The families and donors to the Archives
continue to experience varying stages of grief, a fact that can sometimes make the work of achieving archival goals and
needs more difficult. Identifying new potential donors of collection materials can sometimes be challenging, owing to
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