Reorganization plans for the State Historical Society of Iowa (SHSI) endanger the preservation of Iowa history contained in diaries, letters, photographs, maps, oral histories and other materials housed at the Society's two libraries in Des Moines and Iowa City.
Drastic reductions in operating hours and staff, the diversion of resources to unrelated activities, and recommendations to "streamline" the SHSI libraries threaten public access to the state's history. Iowans risk being severed from their past.
On behalf of all Iowans and others interested in the history of the greater Midwest, we make the following requests of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, which oversees the SHSI:
1) Guarantee accessibility to the physical records of Iowa's history at the State Historical Society of Iowa libraries and archives. Maintain the operation of the Iowa City branch located in the Centennial Building, which manages the materials collected since the institution's 1857 founding under the auspices of the University of Iowa.
2) Provide funding sufficient to enable library staff to conserve, process, and manage the SHSI's valuable collections and acquire new ones. Ensure that the libraries remain open to the public during regular business hours at least five days per week.
3) Make the budget and decision-making process for the DCA and SHSI more transparent and allow for public input into plans for the reorganization, dispersion, or digitization of the SHSI research collections.
Thank you for signing the petition. If you wish to make your voice more widely heard, write or call the Governor of Iowa, your Iowa state legislators, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, and/or the State Historical Society of Iowa. Tell them to restore the cuts to staff and hours of the SHSI libraries that have longed served the state so well. Here are the key contacts: