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RBMS Security Committee Minutes from 2012 Annual

RBMS Security Committee
ALA Annual Meeting š Anaheim CA
Saturday 23 June 2012
4:00-5:30 pm


Members Present: Alvan Bregman (Chair), University of British Columbia; Martha O'Hara Conway (Recording), University of Michigan; Isaac Gewirtz, New York Public Library; Michael Inman, New York Public Library; William LaMoy, Syracuse University; Jennifer Lowe, Saint Louis University

Others Present: Lois Fischer Black, Lehigh University; Erin Blake, Folger Shakespeare Library; Charlotte Brown, University of California Los Angeles; Meghan Constantinou, The Grolier Club; John Cullars, University of Illinois at Chicago; Rachel D’Agostino, Library Company of Philadelphia; Moira Fitzgerald, Yale University; Hjordis Halvorson, The Newberry Library; Laila Miletic-Vejzovic, University of Central Florida; Audrey Pearson, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

        I.            Introductions and News

The Public Services and Curators & Conservators discussion groups will meet jointly on Sunday (10:30 am – 12:00 pm). The discussion topic is implementation of the ACRL/RBMS Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections and the recently-published Guide to Security Considerations and Practices for Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collection Libraries (Chicago: Association of College and Research Libraries, 2011).

       II.            Minutes and Agenda

 The minutes from the January 2012 Midwinter meeting and the agenda for the current meeting were approved.

     III.            Chair’s Report

Alvan reported the following:

a. The Society of American Archivists (SAA) has endorsed our ACRL/RBMS Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections, along with an "Introduction for Archivists" written by the SAA Security Roundtable, which sponsored the endorsement.  (See agendum VI, below.)  The Guidelines were also endorsed by the IFLA Rare Books and Manuscripts Section.

b. An email was sent to the heads of libraries of ARL, CRL, IRLA, and Oberlin Group institutions.  Jackie Dooley kindly supplied and Alvan updated the 2009 emailing list used for the OCLC Research-sponsored Taking Our Pulse survey.  This emailing will be followed by others as part of the Committee’s campaign to increase awareness and implementation of the Guidelines.

c. Correspondence included a request for “how to” advice regarding conducting a security audit and an inquiry from an individual about how to raise concerns about security with senior library administrators.

In preparation for his presentation in the “Managing Special Collections: Service, Security, Statistics” webinar (sponsored by Atlas Systems and Library Journal), Rich Oram wanted to know if the current budget/fiscal climate is negatively affecting security procedures in our institutions.  Those present did not know of any examples; however, Will reported that Risk Management conducted an extensive security audit of the libraries, archives, and museums on the Syracuse University campus about four years ago and that some but not all of the recommendations had been implemented.

    IV.            Incidents of Thefts Report

Jenny reported that 27 new reports and 15 updates have been added to the Incidents of Theft list. We had a lively discussion about (1) Marino Massimo De Caro’s theft of thousands of books from the Girolamini Library and (2) the Sidereus Nuncius forgeries.  Alvan let us know that he has been in communication with Garrett Scott, chair of the ABAA Security Committee, about the need for basic guidelines regarding materials with dubious provenance.

From what had been learned so far about the de Caro and Girolamini Library scandals, there was a need to inform institutions to check their acquisitions going back to 2005 for books with effaced marks of provenance, forged books, and genuine books with forged marks of provenance.  It was agreed that notices could be placed on the Committee’s website and a message could be sent to the RBMS list to check there for updates.

      V.            Updates to Library and Archival Security Resources Directory and Appendix III of the ACRL/RBMS Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections

Rachel d’Agostino volunteered to assemble the changes that need to be made to the “Library and Archival Security Resources Directory” and send them to the RBMS web team. The Resources Directory also functions as Appendix III of the Guidelines, and so it is essential to keep this up to date.  Rachel also kindly agreed to check and update other content on the Committee’s website.

    VI.            SAA Security Roundtable’s “Introduction” to Our Guidelines

 The SAA Security Roundtable has prepared an “Introduction” to the ACRL/RBMS Guidelines Regarding Security and Theft in Special Collections, which they have sponsored for SAA endorsement.  While agreeing that the Guidelines in general were valuable for archivists, the SAA found that implementation of our Marking Guidelines (Appenidix A) would impose too much of a burden in processing general files.  Alvan noted that closer ties with SAA were being established:  he had been invited to speak to the SAA at its 2012 annual meeting, and a member of the SAA Security Roundtable, Brittany Turner, was also going to serve on the RBMS Security Committee.

   VII.            Proactive Roles for the Security Committee

a. Security Survey

b. Security Audit Procedures

The Committee agreed to move forward with designing a survey that would serve one or more of the following purposes:

 (1)  a tool that repositories could use for self-assessment purposes, to determine the extent to which they had implemented the Guidelines

 (2) a means to discover the state of security in special collections, and to what extent gaps existed between the ideal (what we should be doing) and the reality (what we are doing).  This information could be used to design security-related initiatives of greatest benefit to the special collections community.

 (3) a tool for conducting a security audit.  Very general guidelines have been published by the NEDCC (http://www.nedcc.org/resources/leaflets/3Emergency_Management/11CollectionsSecurity.php), but there is a need to frame security audit procedures for the special collections community.

We agreed that these must be cast as positive/helpful activities and that confidentiality (for asking questions during the survey process) and anonymity (when reporting/sharing results) are essential. Martha, Audrey, and Jenny volunteered to draft a set of survey questions based on the Guidelines

c. Conducting Inventories

Lois and Michael volunteered to draft some basic guidelines (purpose, procedures, etc.) on conducting inventories in special collections.

      VIII.       New Business

Guidelines on the Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections (Third Edition -- Prepared by the ACRL/RBMS Task Force to Review Guidelines on the Selection and Transfer of Materials from General Collections to Special Collections (2005-2008); approved by the ACRL Board of Directors, July 1, 2008)

The transfer guidelines are up for their periodic review. The mechanism for conducting the review was to be decided by the RBMS Executive Committee.  Charlotte Brown, who chaired the task force that wrote the original guidelines, said that she had informed Exec that the same task force would be willing to take on the review. Alvan said that he had also been in touch with Exec to indicate the Security Committee’s interest in the transfer guidelines and in contributing to the review.

    IX.            Adjournment.

The meeting was adjourned at 5:30 pm.


Martha O’Hara Conway

Alvan Bregman

15 July 2012