March 10, 2011
The Records Management and Preservation Board (RMPB) has awarded $237,826 in grant funds to 32 West Virginia county commissions for county records management and preservation projects through its County Records Management and Preservation Grants program. The board reviewed submissions and made its recommendations in January for projects to improve management, storage conditions, access, and preservation of public records held in several county offices. Following official letters announcing the successful grants, RMPB staff will provide technical assistance in setting up the grant projects, which officially begin with the new fiscal year July 1, 2011. A complete list of recipients is attached.
The RMPB, with its continuing interest in addressing records storage and management issues in the courthouses, announced the grant criteria in its invitation to applicants last September. The criteria were: conduct a total records inventory and condition assessment, and develop a master records management plan for county records; remove non-records and accumulations of records having reached or exceeded required retention periods; and provide proper and improved storage of and access to permanent records or records with required retention periods in excess of 25 years. The latter will include physical storage to provide proper shelving and/or archival records boxes (10"x12"x15"), and security/preservation microfilm, with a digital imaging combination for enhanced access. A copy of the microfilm will be stored at the State Archives. In this round of grants the RMPB also considered grant applications for scanners and computers to be used by the public to access county government records.
Funding for the County Records Management and Preservation Program is provided from the filing fees collected by county clerks and deposited in the special Public Records and Preservation Account. The funds serve as an incentive to county officials to improve the management of their public records and conditions for their preservation. The RMPB was created by the West Virginia Legislature in 2000 to develop a system of records management and preservation for county governments. Its primary focus is to establish guidelines and provide technical assistance for records management access and preservation purposes. In pursuit of these goals, the RMPB has authorized a statewide survey and report on the current state of county records, developed rules and a County Records Management Manual for county offices, and sponsored records management workshops for county officials and staffs. The next grant cycle and priorities will be announced September 1, for the fiscal year 2012-2013.
For more information about the Records Management and Preservation Board’s annual grant program or the work of the RMPB, contact Denise Ferguson, records archivist for West Virginia Archives and History of the West Virginia Division of Culture and History, by phone at (304) 558-0230, ext. 150, by e-mail at Denise.L.Ferguson@wv.gov, or by mail at Records Management and Preservation Board, West Virginia Division of Culture and History, The Culture Center, 1900 Kanawha Boulevard, East, Charleston, WV 25305-0300. Information can be accessed electronically at www.wvculture.org/history/rmpb/rmpb.html.
The West Virginia Division of Culture and History is an agency within the West Virginia Department of Education and the Arts with Kay Goodwin, Cabinet Secretary. The Division, led by Commissioner Randall Reid-Smith, brings together the past, present and future through programs and services focusing on archives and history, arts, historic preservation and museums. For more information about the Division’s programs, events and sites, visit www.wvculture.org. The Division of Culture and History is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.