Serious Funding and Staffing Problems For “Papers of Abraham Lincoln” Project & Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library
From Illinois Times:
The Papers of Abraham Lincoln Project, which aims to digitize every document written by or read by the Great Emancipator, is in an existential crisis, the project’s director Thursday told an advisory board to the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, where the project is headquartered.
On orders from the governor’s office, the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency that sponsors the project has refused to renew a contract with the University of Illinois Springfield that last year provided $243,000 in state money to pay employees. Except for Daniel Stowell, the project’s director, the project’s employees are university employees, but salaries come largely from the state as well as federal grants that require matching funds and private gifts.
For now, employees remain on the job, Stowell said, with salaries coming from a UIS [University of Illinois Springfield] private foundation account that is rapidly being depleted
Advisory board members at Thursday’s meeting also discussed the deterioration of the library division of the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum, which was recently chronicled by Illinois Times (“Ghost of a Library,” Sept. 10). Staff shortages have become so acute that departments are closing earlier in the day than scheduled due lack of staff.
Board members discussed the possibility of requiring researchers to schedule appointments 48 hours in advance. Patrons now can simply walk in unannounced to conduct research. The notion of research-by-appointment didn’t sit well with Sam Wheeler, a research historian for ALPLM. He called such an idea “reckless.”
About Gary Price
Gary Price (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. He earned his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Alumnus of the Year from the Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com.