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A community college sponsored by Niagara County

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Barbara Rupple

July 26, 2019

The Henrietta G. Lewis Library on the campus of SUNY Niagara serves as a repository for Niagara County regional history, and thanks to a Conservation/Preservation Discretionary Grant from the New York State Library, artifacts from this collection will be better preserved with improved access. The $8,482 grant was one of eight of this nature awarded across the state.

SUNY Niagara plans to use the funds for a collection of archived maps including one of Niagara and Orleans Counties that dates back to 1860, a map of Cambria from 1906, and a soil map of Niagara County from 1906, among others. Prior to the grant, the maps were stored rolled in circular boxes that warped the paper, and made it difficult for library staff to accommodate viewing requests by patrons. The new process will allow the archivist to store the maps in a flat case with acid-free paper, keeping the artifacts in better condition and allowing for easier access.

In addition to the map collection, SUNY Niagara has a special collection of 183 books that focus on Native American history, including the nearby Tuscarora Nation. The rare books were compiled by prominent local historian Arthur B. Nichols, and present rich, detailed history of the Tuscarora and Iroquois Native Americans that predates the founding of Niagara County by several centuries. Many of these books have suffered from light damage, loose bindings and yellow pages due to being stored on open shelving exposed to elements. The grant funds are being invested in ultra-violet light window covers and a preservation environment monitor to ensure better conditions for these treasured items.