Saturday, February 02, 2008

Fundraiser proposal for preserving Idaho records of antiquity

Dear Idaho Library Association staff,

Lately I have been finding myself in a better place –that is spending more time in Idaho libraries. Within these pleasant atmospheres a couple of questions occurred, with which you can probably help. First, what type of mirroring system –if any - is set up between Idaho libraries, in event of disaster to their online databases and archives?

Most scholars probably know about the ancient Alexandria, Egypt library fire, which swept through and wiped out numerous records of antiquity. Nowadays of course, many records are backed up on the Internet Archive Wayback Machine -which the new Library of Alexandria, Egypt now mirrors. Ketchum’s Community Library primary website is mirrored for instance, on these websites. As are local newspapers and other local Idaho sites.

However, there are many records, still out there from the days of yore, in library basements and storage spots, which are not yet archived and / or mirrored. These irreplaceable institution memories deserve the best preservation methods available. Fireproof lockers are amazing, built with the ability to withstand extreme temperatures and to augment that, nowadays, there is a full array of cutting-edge fire suppression systems, which do not damage books or data systems, while promptly extinguishing fires!

My presumption is that most Idaho libraries have not yet installed these innovative systems. Considering that many small Idaho towns probably have restricted budgets, this must certainly be the case. However, I have strong faith that if this important need is properly presented to Idaho communities, many will support corresponding fundraisers with handsome donations.

If the Idaho Library Association is interested, I would be delighted to take this seed idea to the next step; proposing a fundraiser to upgrade Idaho library fire-suppression systems, so that if activated they will not damage books or data systems. As a long established behind-the-scenes Idaho community activist, for my next mission, I could do some more research, draft a sweeping letter of public interest and with some of your sage advice determine the best places and timing to bring such a proposal to light.

Best regards,

Jim Banholzer

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