Thursday, September 25, 2008

Plymouth Exhibit Preview

Here at the State Library we're hard at work in these last few days to put together a great exhibit opening October 6, 2008.

Plymouth: People, Politics, and Primary Sources

We are excited for this exhibit because we will be displaying some original library collections in addition to reproductions. For items that are too large or fragile to be displayed for several months we are photographing or scanning the items to create a print reproduction. This morning I was photographing the May 4, 1822 edition of the Old Colony Memorial And Plymouth County Advertiser newspaper and came across two interesting advertisements, pictured below.

To see more of the May 4, 1822 edition of the Old Colony Memorial And Plymouth County Advertiser, stop by the exhibit cases outside of the main library (State House Room 341) between October 6, 2008 and January 23, 2009.

- Lacy Crews, Preservation Assistant

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Constitution Day 2008 at Bunker Hill Community College

The State Library will have a table at Bunker Hill Community College's Constitution Day celebration on Wednesday September 17. We will be handing out magnets and bookmarks, and also displaying a new poster we've created featuring the Mayflower Compact as it appears in its earliest existing form: the Bradford Manuscript held by the library. Click at left to see the poster, and read more about the Mayflower Compact below:

On November 21, 1620, before they came ashore at Cape Cod, passengers on the Mayflower made an agreement to join togethers as a "civil body politic." They also agreed to submit to the government that would be chosen by common consent and to obey all laws made for the common good of the colony. It included the names of all male heads of families, free single men, and three of the male servants. The earliest surviving copy of the text is included in Governor WIlliam Bradford's "Of Plimouth Plantation,"written between 1630 and 1646 and held by the State Library of Massachusetts. Bradford did not list the signers nor did he refer to the document as "Compact" or "Mayflower Compact."

The English Magna Carta, written more than 400 years before the Mayflower Compact, established the principle of the rule of law. The Mayflower Compact expanded the concept of rule of law to include government by the people: the idea that lies at the heart of democracy. From its beginning in Plymouth, Massachusetts, self-government evolved into the town meetings of New England and larger local governments in Colonial America. By the time of the Constitutional Convention in the 1780's, the Mayflower Compact had been nearly forgotten, but the notion of self-government had not.

- Katie Chase, Special Collections Librarian, and Paige Roberts, Head of Special Collections

F as in Fat: How Obesity Policies are Failing in America, 2008

The fifth annual report from the Trust for America's Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation examines obesity on a state-by-state basis. A telling finding is that the obesity rate has not declined in any state. Within the adult population, Massachusetts ranks 48th in terms of obesity, 33rd for hypertension, 41st for diabetes, and 35th for physical inactivity. Among children and adolescents, 11.1% of Bay State high school students were considered obese and 14.6% were overweight.

Additional rankings and surveys from the CDC and other agencies provide data for policymakers to assess the effectiveness of initiatives. The report presents trends in standards, laws, and regulations; policies in land use and transportation are also covered. Statewide obesity plans are compared and evaluated on a number of variables, such as goals for a healthier workforce.

The Trust calls for the formation of a National Strategy to Combat Obesity by the next President. As in past efforts to promote highway safety and reduce youth smoking, the federal government would direct Cabinet agencies to develop and implement policies and programs within their jurisdiction. By leveraging its resources, the government is in a unique position to set priorities and bring together local and state governments, the private sector, and organizations to work toward a healthier society.

- Tina Vegelante, Reference/Interlibrary Loan Librarian

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

From the Preservation Lab

In preparation for our new exhibit on Plymouth opening in October, members of Special Collections, Reference and Technical Services have been pulling library materials to be considered for inclusion in the exhibit. During this process items in need of repair have been found, such as two maps of the Plymouth area from the 1800s. While these maps were not chosen to be included in the exhibit, they were quickly routed to preservation for some repair work prior to reshelving.

The first map repaired, pictured at left, depicts Plymouth Harbor and was printed in 1857. This map had numerous rips along all of the edges, two torn pieces that created holes along the top edge and two areas of paper loss along the bottom edge. The rips along the edges and the holes along the top were repaired with archival document repair tape, a material similar to regular pressure-sensitive tape, but that is acid and lignin-free and should remain stable over time. Where there was paper loss along the bottom edge, acid-free archival quality paper was used to stabilize the document. Below is a close up of the stabilization of the lower left corner of the map. (Click any image to enlarge).

The second map routed to preservation was a map of New England published in 1828. Unlike the Plymouth Harbor map, this map was fairly stable along the edges, having been repaired previously (40 to 60 years ago from my estimate). Instead, this map needed a good cleaning along the bottom edge of one piece and needed to be housed in a map folder to protect it while shelved.

The map was cleaned using a dry sponge made of a rubber-like material that lifts and traps dirt. A small puncture hole was repaired in the lower right corner using acid-free archival paper and archival document repair tape. Once these repairs were made, a new map folder was labeled with the call number information and the map was ready to be reshelved.

While items arrive in the preservation lab through many channels, it is important to the library that we incorporate preservation check points to work flows where possible. For the Plymouth exhibit all items included in the display will first be assessed for any preservation issues that may arise from being on display for several months. Repairs will be made where needed, systems to support items during display will be fabricated and facsimiles will be created when the item is decided to be too fragile for display. Additionally all items pulled during the planning process, but that we decided would not be in the final exhibit, will be assessed for preservation needs before the items are returned to the shelf. For this exhibit about 40 items will be assessed for inclusion in the exhibit and about 35 items will be assessed before they are routed back to the stacks. Though not all items will need repair, adding this preservation check point to the exhibit preparations allows repairs to be made where needed and works to further the library's mission goal of preservation and conservation of library collections.

Stay tuned to the library blog for more information about the Plymouth exhibit over the coming weeks.

-- Lacy Crews, Preservation Assistant

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

From the Edward Kirby Collection

Over the next week, the library blog will be featuring a series of items from the Edward Kirby Collection, which will soon be reseased to researchers.

The first item up is the "Massachusetts Parade of Agricultural Fairs":

This promotional brochure from 1966 was published by the Mass Department of Agriculture. It is in the "Events to Attend" file from Kirby's tenure as a State Representative from 1960-1966. I chose to share this item because of its graphic flair.

-Katie Chase, Special Collections Librarian