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November 2001


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Chris Andrle <[log in to unmask]>
Reply To:
A LISTSERV list for discussions pertaining to New York State history." <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 31 Oct 2001 20:56:25 -0500
text/plain (60 lines)
Sorry, I just don't agree that acidity and brittleness are valid reasons for
any wholesale disposal of archival or library materials, even if they are
just newspapers.  Based on my own experience, I would say that only a very
small portion of paper materials, including some newspapers, are brittle to
the point of crumbling apart. Certainly it is less than 5%, maybe even less
than 1%.

As far as consulting with real archivists and librarians, I have too often
seen a lack of appreciation of value on their part. I know one library in
particular where some of the librarians regularly move material from the
general collection to special collections to prevent it from being discarded
by the younger librarians who don't see a need to keep old stuff that isn't
often withdrawn.

Baker certainly is biased, however, as a user of archives and libraries
across the country over the past 30 years, I would say that he makes a very
strong case and I can cite similar occurrences from my own experience.
Here's one example:

Does anyone remember Hugh Lofting's Dr. Doolittle books? How about Ellen
MacGregor's Miss Pickerell books or Jay Williams' Danny Dunn books or
Eleanor Cameron's Mr. Bass series? How about Donald Sobol's Encyclopedia
Brown and Walter Brook's Freddy the Pig series? When I was a child I made
weekly trips to the library for an arm load of these classics. If any child
wanted to read them today, they couldn't, at least not in this county. Why
not? Because I have all of them! After several decades of a no-discard
policy, our county library system held a book sale and the floodgates were
opened. I filled my attic. I had the pleasure of seeing my children enjoy
them and hope to share them with my grandchildren some day too. Everyone
else is out of luck.

Chris Andrle

----- Original Message -----
From: "Pullen, Sharon" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, October 31, 2001 12:24 PM
Subject: Re: Question RE: the private sale of public records

> Chris,
>         Newsprint is one of the most acidic, brittle types of paper in
> existence.  Most of the academic/archival/library community is well aware
> problems with microfilm quality control that existed in the past.  Before
> you accept Mr. Baker's decidedly subjective (if not biased) viewpoint, you
> should consult some others who are real archivists and librarians not
> authors with an ax to grind and a profit to be made from publicity.
> Sharon A. Pullen, CA
> Suffolk County Archivist
> Historical Documents Library
> Office of the County Clerk
> 310 Center Drive
> Riverhead, NY 11901-3392
> Phone: 631-852-2015
> Email: [log in to unmask]