The following was written by Richard E. Black, Director of the Godfrey Memorial Library:
Godfrey Scholar Update
Godfrey Memorial Library is a non-profit physical library that receives no public funding. We receive our funding from the income from the Godfrey Scholar program, annual appeals, AGBI requests and other donations and contributions. Being a non-profit, we are not responsible to investors or others that intend to make a profit from our existence.
Since the inception of the scholar program, we have kept the expense of the program to a minimum so that it would be affordable to everyone. That continues to be our goal.
The Scholar program is a mixture of sites for which we pay a subscription and free sites that we have reviewed and made available to our scholars.
We continue to aggressively add sites to the program. For instance during the month of February, the following content was added.
- Commonwealth War Graves Commission
- CT Colonial Connecticut Records
- CT Pembroke Cemetery in Danbury
- IN Evansville Area Obituary Search
- IN Evansville City Cemeteries
- LA Marriage License Index Caddo Parish 1937 to present
- MA Salem Witch Trials
- NY United French and German RC Cemetery
- OH Cleveland Public Library Necrology Database
- OH Rutherford B. Hayes Obituary Index
- The Olden Times Historic Newspaper Collection
- UT State List of Cemeteries and Burials
- WV Vital Research Records
- CO Colorado Historic Newspaper Collection
- Danish Surnames
- IL Chicago Tribune Historical Archives
In addition, we have added the American County Histories that are available from Accessible Archives. These histories include the states of Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland, New Jersey and parts of New York. As more histories become available, we will also acquire them.
In the near future, we will be announcing an initiative that will allow us to put many of our collection of books into the scholar program. In addition we are in the process of negotiating with organizations that have additional books available that we will be able to use.
From time to time, we are compelled to drop one of our sites. Normally, when this occurs, it is completely out of our control. Such was the case with the Heritage Quest and FindUSA sites. We have come to a point where we are compelled to drop yet another site. The contract renewal for the ProQuest Historic newspapers is due. These papers have been very popular, especially the New York Times. ProQuest has decided that for whatever reason to price these papers at a cost that is completely prohibitive. To give you a perspective the price is an increase of over 1,500 percent of what we paid last year. In fact, if we paid the asking price, it would cost us more than we receive in gross income from the entire Scholar program.
It is my understanding that some of the same libraries that offer Heritage Quest also offer some of these newspapers. You might check with your library. I will be sending out an updated list in the next few days. If you do not get yours or if you want a different state please let us know. Simply tell us which state you are interested in. Please do not ask for the entire list, it is well over 50 pages long.
In addition ProQuest is rethinking their agreement to allow us to continue to offer the Heritage Quest material until the end of the current subscription period or the end of the year, whichever comes earlier. They have put us on notice that at the end of March, we will be given a contract for the use of that content for the balance of the year. If what they are charging for the ProQuest papers, is reflected in their pricing for the Heritage Quest material, we can expect another exorbitant fee. Again, the price could be prohibitive.
We appreciate your continued support. We feel badly that we are unable to continue to provide this very valuable resource.
In the past, whenever something like this has happened, we have been buried with e-mail messages. For instance, when we had to drop FindUSA, I personally answered over 1000 e-mails. I will attempt to answer all e-mails that are sent to me, just be aware that at this point I cannot do anything to solve the problem, and it will take a few days for us to respond to your inquiries.
Again, thank you for your support
Richard E. Black
Director, Godfrey Memorial Library
134 Newfield Street
Middletown CT 06457