Citations (Library Newsletter) September 2000

 

$97,755 Grant Preserves History of Agriculture

 

The Library was recently awarded $97,755 by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)/United States Agricultural Information Network (USAIN) to preserve publications documenting the history of New Mexico agriculture and rural history.

 

The project is a collaborative effort with nine other libraries in land grant institutions, led by the Albert Mann Library at Cornell University.According to agriculture librarian and local project director Tim McKimmie of Branson Reference, the NMSU Library, in cooperation with other libraries in the state, will develop a comprehensive bibliography of published materials critical to the story of agriculture and rural life in New Mexico published from 1820 to 1945 and preserve the most important of these materials.

 

The project is intended to advance the goals of the USAINís National Preservation Program for Agricultural literature and the national preservation program administered by the NEH to preserve the intellectual content of deteriorating research resources.The project will employ a four-person scholarly review panel to rank titles according to their priority as research resources and will target for preservation the most important 30% of approximately 5,000 volumes.

 

Once the ranking has been compiled, the Library will organize preservation microfilming activities consistent with national standards.When filming and quality checking are completed, catalog records for each item will be entered in the international online catalog, OCLC.Microfilm masters will be housed at the National Agricultural Library and a duplicate master and one circulating copy of each publication will be made available to Library users.

 

McKimmie states that the materials to be identified and preserved include books, government documents, extension publications, newspapers, farming journals and theses and dissertations.These materials include information on New Mexicoís crops, such as chile, alfalfa, cotton, pecans and grain crops, as well as the cattle, sheep and dairy industries.Since the history of New Mexicoís agriculture is also the story of scarce water resources, sources of information on acequias (small irrigation ditches) and dam construction are also included.

 

The literature of agriculture and rural life in New Mexico ranges from reminscences of times gone by to ranching and rodeos, struggles between the poor and land barons, changes wrought by railroads and dam building, and the effect of disasters such as the dust bowl.Many of the books to be reviewed during the project deal with rural life in the West.My Life on the Frontier by Miguel Antonio Otero, Blackboard Days by Sophie Poe and No Life for A Lady by Agnes Morley Cleaveland are examples of this type of literature.For more information, contact Tim McKimmie at 646-7483 or tmckimmi@lib.nmsu.edu.