Iowa State University Library will preserve historical films thanks to CLIR grant

The Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR), Washington, D.C., has awarded Iowa State University a $49,800 grant for Activist Farmers on Film: Preserving the Recordings of the National Farmers Organization (NFO). With this grant, the Iowa State University Library, in partnership with Memmon Archiving Services, will digitize 166 at-risk black-and-white films from the NFO, an important contribution to agriculture history, farm protest movements, farmers' rights and insight into the experience of rural farming communities in the Midwest. 

"These 16mm black-and-white films from the NFO, some of them nearly 70 years old, are an important collection that will benefit researchers for generations, thanks to this award from CLIR,” said Beth McNeil, dean of library services. “These recordings started to degrade over time, placing them at risk of being lost. When they are preserved, scholars will continue to gain insight into this period of history in agriculture.”

The work is scheduled to be completed April 30, 2019. University Archivist Brad Kuennen and AV and Film Preservation Specialist Rosie Rowe are responsible for the project. 

Funds for the award come from the Recordings at Risk program, which is a national regranting program administered by CLIR to support the preservation of rare and unique audio and audiovisual content of high scholarly value through digital reformatting. The program is funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation

The Iowa State University Foundation is a private, nonprofit organization committed to securing and managing gifts that benefit Iowa State University. The Forever True, For Iowa State campaign, with a historic goal to raise $1.1 billion, will help support Iowa State in becoming the premier land-grant university for the 21st century and beyond.

The Iowa State University Library advances the university’s academic excellence and land-grant mission by collecting and preserving world knowledge for its faculty, staff, students and community; by teaching the information literacy skills that enable researchers at all levels to identify, access and use high-quality information; and by actively participating in the creation, sharing, and application of knowledge, research and creative activity, to energize and empower its users toward creating a vital future for the state of Iowa and the world.

The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning.

For additional information about the Iowa State University Library’s film restoration project, contact Brad Kuennen or Rosie Rowe.