The National Endowment for the Humanities has once again recognized an NEH grant awarded to Kyle Ainsworth, special collections librarian at Stephen F. Austin State University’s Steen Library, by including it in NEH’s 50 States of Preservation series.
The series highlights former preservation assistance grants for smaller institutions awarded to libraries and archives across the United States.
Ainsworth’s 2012 grant helped fund a four-day disaster-and-planning workshop series from May 14-17, 2012, which was designed to instruct employees of regional museums, cultural heritage organizations and archivists in the basics of document preservation, emergency preparedness and salvage techniques.
The first two days focused on the usual threats, like leaks, pest infestation and mold, as well as preservation of oversized materials, photos and scrapbooks. The last two days highlighted disaster preparedness and salvage techniques. The fourth day included a hands-on demonstration of how to salvage water-damaged materials.
Additional workshops were held at the Durst-Taylor Historic House where members of the Nacogdoches community were invited to attend and learn techniques to help preserve treasured family heirlooms.
Ainsworth’s grant was recognized for its timely implementation in a region with more than 60 historical and cultural organizations archiving thousands of historical documents and which endured two hurricanes in the years leading up to the grant-funded workshop series.
The workshop series proved beneficial in 2014, when a leak in the East Texas Research Center’s special collections library damaged more than 200 books.
“Because of the workshop, we were able to save about 170 books,” Ainsworth said.