What are the optimal storage conditions for records?

As North Carolina government employees, we are the custodians of the public records in our offices.  While we are responsible for their maintenance, public records are public property. While we encourage offices to find places to store records that do not take up too much valuable office space, the selected space should be dry, secured, and free from pests and mold. Your office must ensure that records stored away from your main office area are well protected from natural and man-made problems, while remaining readily available to your staff and the public. General Statute 132-7 advises:

Insofar as possible, custodians of public records shall keep them in fireproof safes, vaults, or rooms fitted with noncombustible materials and in such arrangement as to be easily accessible for convenient use. All public records should be kept in the buildings in which they are ordinarily used…

I am often asked what all that means in terms of temperature and relative humidity, “What are we supposed to tell our HVAC folks?”  Recently, I found an old handout in my office that breaks it down for those mathematically inclined:

humidity_handout

For more fleshed out guidance on national and international standards for records storage environments, check out these Northeast Document Conservation Center pamphlets:

Temperature, Relative Humidity, Light, and Air Quality: Basic Guidelines for Preservation

Low Cost/No Cost Improvements in Climate Control

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  1. Pingback: What we mean by “custodian of the record.” | The G.S. 132 Files

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