Masonic Library & Museum Association

Minutes from MLMA Meeting 2000

Masonic Center - Grand Rapids, Michigan
October 26-28,2000

October 26

Pres . Paul Bessel called the meeting to order ca 9:00, and asked for a substitute secretary for the ailing Cynthia Alcorn. He then thanked Al and Cathie Bryant for hosting the meeting, and made introductions.

Al Bryant made brief remarks re agenda and Grand Rapids Masonic Temple building.

Pres. Bessel introduced Larry Dillon, 33d, PM, Past Commander-in-Chief, DeMolay officer, retired elementary school principal in Battle Creek.

Brother Dillon's keynote speech concerned:

* Michigan, the state, especially roads, unions, diversity of population (large Islamic, Netherlandic groups), museums and education.

* Masons are not reading enough - challenge of getting them involved in research.

* Masonic heritage museum/library/archives. Bro. Dillon wants it to be: friendly, bright, family-oriented, including children, part of neighborhood, technologically-oriented, benefit far-off Masons (who may never visit).

* Masonic librarians and curators arepreservers of our Masonic history; promoters, givers of service with a smile.

* Masons should be members not only of lodges, but of a dynamic movement.

Q & A: Paul Bessel thanked Bro. Dillon for his philosophy and his raising good questions to get our discussion started.


* Computerized catalogues: MARC format is essential if we are to merge. We decided not to worry about that, but in any case our first step is, and we committed to having a "Gateway" so that we may link to and see each others' catalogues.

After the break, Al Bryant made a presentation on "Creativity and Masonic Libraries:"

* His own background: MLS, public and academic libraries

* Creativity as opposed to reusing whatever anyone else has is essential: Originality, special projects (Masonic country club, writing of skits and plays like Al Bryant's The Lady Freemason).

* Be proactive!

Q & A: Discussion of amount of support/restraint imposed by one's Grand Lodge.

Ideas: book discussions, collaborations with neighbors (bookstore, public library)

After lunch: Open Discussion "Anything on our minds"

* Harry Strouse re history. He is the history of his library, the Valley of Chicago, AASR, NMJ, started in 1981; including horror story of somewhat senile librarian who threw away a dumpster's worth of "old, worn-out books" until Harry stopped the massacre. He uses the Boyden classification, and Microsoft Works -17 sortable fields. The more links, the better: one can search any subject in all media (print, non-print, artifacts, photos, etc.).

* Paul Bessel reminded us not be be embarrassed to ask each other for help, especially in computer work.

* Idea of MLMA's marketing George Hellmer's scanned works. (Oliver works, The Builder). Agree to approach Bro. Hellmer by e-mail today to ask if he's interested in working with us. MLMA CD rom series?!

* Point of information: CDs seem to be viable for ca 15 years; floppy disks ca. 8.

* We agreed to ignore complaints of too much e-mail.

* Discussion of circulating books by mail. Consensus is that only a very small percentage of books is not returned.

Tour of archives and museum storage building for Van Andel Museum and Kent County, Michigan.

October 27

Pres. Paul Bessel called the meeting to order ca 9:00, and requested that member libraries, send photos of their facilities especially to Dick Browning (Deputy Grand Master, GL of Arkansas).

* It was suggested that we have more of our business meeting today, because many have to leave tonight or tomorrow (Saturday, 28 October).

* Photograph to be taken before dinner tonight.

* Discount on David Ovason's Secret Architecture of the Capital being negotiated.

* Request for members' duplicates of GL Proceedings to be listed and sent to P. Bessel for posting on website.

* S. Dak GL moved to small building; wanted to throw away books. Paul called S Dak to save books. Being stored by a Brother who has warehouse. Ship to Arkansas. Everyone to pick out books and pay pro-rata shipping to reimburse MLMA.

Treasurer's report (Mike Wells, Illinois):

Fiscal year October 1 - September 30? Discussion started. Adopted policy that NEW members dues paid after July 1 apply to current and next year (= 18 months dues). Discussion suspended until after scheduled presentations.

1. "Cultureware" by Gerald Addams of Media Rare. Mr. Addams is a trained curator. Lecture-demonstration of user-friendly software for all media.

2. Dick Browning (Arkansas) demonstrated the MLMA conference display, which is contained in one box. (See video and website.) Can fit in a suitcase. Heavy-duty PVC pipes, elbows, T's, 45-degree pieces.

Discussion of upcoming conferences where Exhibit might be used in 2001:

* AMD - February

* Art Library Society in Lexington - April

* Midwest Masonic Libraries - May

* SE Grand Masters - August

* GL Wisconsin

* York Rite

* N MJ - Indianapolis

After the break:

Presentation: Michigan Masonic Center, Grand Rapids: Tom Van Kampen, Building Manager, and Daniel Durkee, of the architectural firm of Fishbeck, T.C. & H., of Grand Rapids.

Part 1: Mr. Durkee: How to plan and execute a library building:

* Space need now and in future.

* Schematics, conceptualizations

* Fund-raising presentations to support client (6 months - 1 year)

* Plans, specifications. Desirable:

Open architecture (defined by furniture not by walls) for maximum flexibility. Infrastructure to support technology - "smart floor" underfloor, ductwork, etc., from communication "closets" to contain wiring, fiber optics, etc. Also, small, intimate spaces - all of which must be monitorable. After 30,000 sq. ft best go to two

stories, automatically need barrier-free and two staircases and an elevator. Heating no problem if building "stacked," so all must be factored in.

* Bidding from contractors

* Final contract

* Construction (ca. 1 year) cost: half labor, half materials $120-$130 / sq ft. PLUS $50-60 for things like security, move-in.

* Move-in

Part 2: Tom van Kampen introduced Michigan Masonic Library-GL Masonic Center building.

Tour of renovations in basement.

After lunch:

Discussion of going to Detroit (Grand Lodge) Sunday.

Future planning: Business meeting to be held Friday; keep Saturday morning

session light.

* October 17-20, 2001: Little Rock, Arkansas reconfirmed - Dick Browning

* October 2002: Chicago, IL - Harry Strouse

* October 2003: Portland, ME - Jim DuFresne

* October 2004 - Detroit, MI - Tom Brunk

Open Discussion/Business:

* Grants:

1. Iowa's Bill Kruger: 501 c 3 applied for, Library got a grant from State of Iowa.

2. Detroit's Tom Brunk counsels that it is necessary to have a specific project in mind and indicate how public will benefit. Do homework; know granting institution, so can tell them why they want to give your institution money.

3. Review of meaning of 501 c 3 - how about MLMA applying? (We have a fed tax number, but are not incorporated). Committee to find out.

4. Fundraising to be a topic at 2001 meeting.

* Return to subject of fiscal year - idea of incorporation of MLMA as 501 c perhaps 3 discussed. Pres. Bessel, with help from Harry Strouse (?) to make preliminary queries.

* Reviewed subject if the grant to Kent Walgren: Tom Brunk moved that $250 to Kent Walgren by awarded, thus ratifying informal email positive agreement. Seconded. Carried.

* By-laws amendments on next year's agenda:

1. Wording for proposed amendment to By-laws re fiscal year: "The fiscal year of MLMA begin on October 1, and end on the following October 1." NB if incorporated must have by-laws; fiscal year will be determined by tax year. Must also have Board of Directors. (We do: the four elected officers.)

2. Setting procedure to making decisions between annual meetings.

* Al Bryand presented AASR Centennial Celebration booklet and told of 32nd Degree Ceremony Allegory.

Presentation: Research Lodges and Masonic Libraries - Dick Browning (D.G.M. Arkansas, Moderator):

* Dick handed out packets re next year's MLMA meeting, and went over some items. Asked us to let him know if we have any ideas for discussion, or questions.

* Presentation proper: Libraries as service groups.

* Research Lodge in Akansas - papers are given every quarter, so they use library as research headquarters. Other bodies asked GL of Arkansas to be their repository.


* Ken McCarty described PA's Academy of Masonic Knowledge and Research Lodge-to-be and asked if any new RLs are necessary.

Cathie Bryant (Grand Rapids) said quality research associations are necessary. RLs should publicize libraries.

* Phil Rose (Monteith Library, Wisconsin) described good relationship with their research lodge.

* Problem of no communication between RL and library.

* Mike Wells: Illinois RL interested in Freemasonry and Illinois. Advised volunteering to be editor of transactions.

* Dick Browning proposed librarians teaching how to do research. Need to look for people who will help, even to make others owe you favors (!)

* MLMA is a resource for ourselves!

* Go out to history and other conferences and give talks on Masonic libraries (Tom Brunk, Detroit)

* Ed Ralph (Ontario) re standards of research groups. Even "bad" stuff can be good years later.

* Cathie Bryand caveat re people believing what they read is true.

* Harry Strouse (Illinois, AASR) re plagiarist!

October 28:

Al Bryant re tourist information

Pres. Paul Bessel called the meeting to order at 9:06

Presentation: Cathie Bryant on textiles and their care.

* Aprons are animal, vegetable, and mineral! Worst possible combination.

* Separate metal from rest of apron (tissue paper), store in darkness. Thus exhibit for short periods only. Sunlight is worst enemy.

* Remove glass; please do not hang on exterior wall.

* Benign neglect can be the best treatment. Don't clean, mend, restore. Always wear gloves. No contact paper, no duct/duck tape,

* Encapsulate!

* Shaving cream will clean leather aprons. AS LONG AS YOU CAN AFFORD TO LOSE THE APRON.

* N.B. Advice can be had online by searching:

1. Smithsonian Website - Museums - Conservation

2. Museum Lighting - fiber optics do not produce heat!

3. Museum of American Art (under Smithsonian)

4. Conservation Analytical Laboratories


* Put fabric over museum cases when not in use

* Lowell, Mass. textile museum has good website

* Webmaster to add Smithsonian links

* Library of Congress has 8000 Masonic books!

Continuation of MLMA business meeting:

* Mike Wells: Amendments to By-laws: Please read and submit ideas for amendments to Paul Bessel. Harry Strouse offered to help.

* Also to consider: Terms of officers now two years; one year recommended. There should be protocol (says Harry) instead of informal agreement, Harry likes two-year terms, because it gives opportunity to get a feel for the job.

* Motion made by Harry Strouse that "all expenditures be approved." Seconded. Carried.

Departure of Secretary Pro-tem, Glenys Waldman; Pres. Paul Bessel continued the note-taking:

Respectfully submitted,

Glenys A. Waldman,

Secretary Pro-tem