Collection Preservation Assessment Awards

Guidelines for Application (updated November 28, 2018)

Application deadline (extended): Friday,  January 25, 2019 

     The Collection Preservation Assessment Project (CPAP), managed by the California Preservation Program (CPP)*, is designed to help small and mid-sized libraries and archives plan improvements in care for their permanent and historical collections. All not-for-profit institutions (libraries, archives, museums, parks, and historical societies) in California with library and archival collections and that provide free public access are eligible to apply. Public libraries seeking to preserve their local history collections are encouraged to apply. Permanent and historical collections appropriate for assessment include books and journals, archives and manuscripts, prints and photographs, moving images, sound recordings, architectural and cartographic records, and digital materials.

A preservation assessment of the collections, including scope and scale of preservation needs as well as recommendations, is an essential first step to create a plan for enhanced collection care. Further, preservation assessments often are a required step preliminary to preservation grant funding. Consequently, CPAP was created to assist California institutions plan programs and projects to meet preservation needs of their collections.

Past recipients of CPAP awards

Components of a CPAP Preservation Assessment Award

The CPAP Preservation Assessment consists of four parts:

1. A site visit to the institution to assess needs of the collections, including
a. an inspection of the collection areas for current and potential problems
b. meetings with staff whose knowledge of the history of preservation problems complements what is visible by inspection
c. a review of collection materials of particular concern to staff

2. A pre-site visit questionnaire designed to elicit as much information as possible before the consultant arrives on site so that onsite interviews with staff can be used for follow up questions and to fill gaps in information

3. A final management report detailing the findings, recommendations in priority order, and justifications for recommendations and priorities

4. Follow up advice on implementation of recommendations. Successful applicants will be expected to report on progress with implementation of assessment recommendations.

CPAP Selection Process

1. Institutions should apply for a CPAP assessment when they are ready to address collection preservation needs. Awards are based in part on evidence of institutional readiness to implement improvements to collections care.

2. No formal application form is needed. Applications should be made using your institutional letterhead, saved as a .pdf attachment, and submitted by email to

3. Applicants should be sure to answer all the application questions below, following the sequence and numbering of the questions.

4. Following review by the CPP Steering Committee, applicants will receive notification of the success of their applications and assignment of a CPP preservation assessment consultant.

CPAP required application information (up to 5 pages, plus any attachments)

1. Institution and contact information
a. Institution name, address
b. Director’s name, address, phone number, email
c. Your institution’s contact person for this CPAP project: name, address, phone number, email

2. Nature and mission of your not-for-profit institution
a. Describe the mission of the institution and discuss specific budget or staffing considerations that characterize it as a small or mid-sized institution. Libraries and archives that are part of a larger organization, such as a college, museum, or park, should provide this information for their library or archive.
b. How many days/year is access to the library/archive collections available to the public?
c. Is there a charge for access to the collections?

3. Previous preservation or conservation consultations
a. Has your institution ever had a preservation assessment of the collections? If yes, attach a copy of the consultant’s report (without report attachments) and explain how it relates to or supports the proposed assessment.
b. Has your institution ever engaged a preservation consultant for purposes other than a general preservation assessment? If yes, briefly elaborate.

4. Content and size of the collections that are the focus of the assessment
a. Describe the collections that are the focus of the assessment. If the proposed assessment focuses only on a portion of an institution’s collections, briefly describe the overall collections and then provide a detailed account of the portion on which the assessment focuses.
b. Identify the formats of materials and indicate, where pertinent, the date ranges, quantities, and intellectual content. Highlight specific examples of important items in the collections.
c. Describe how the collection has been organized and/or cataloged. How do users access the intellectual content of the collection?
d. Discuss the significance of these materials, emphasizing their significance to the history and people of California.

5. Use of the collections
a. Explain in detail how the collections on which the assessment focuses are used. If the collections are used for research, provide examples of research projects conducted by students, scholars, genealogists, etc. By discussing the use of collections, evaluators will understand their importance to the institution’s mission.

6. Importance of this assessment to your institution
a. How does this proposed assessment fit into the institution’s overall preservation goals?
b. What previous preservation efforts does it build upon?
c. What plans does your institution have to secure resources needed to improve collection care?
d. What evidence can you provide of your institution’s intention to take action following the assessment?

The California Preservation Program is supported in part by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian.  The opinions expressed herein do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the California State Library, and no official endorsement by the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services or the California State Library should be inferred.