The Tennessee State Library and Archives (TLSA) is given authority by T.C.A. § 10-7-413 to review proposed destruction of county records and to take into the state archives such records proposed for destruction as may have historical research value. TLSA has reviewed and approved these retention guidelines prepared by the County Technical Assistance Service (CTAS).
With respect to records designated in these guidelines as "permanent," TSLA-
- Concurs entirely with all guidelines herein that appraise records series to be of permanent value;
- Reminds local governments that they are obliged by the provisions of T.C.A. § 10-7-503 to make such records permanently and consistently available for public inspection;
- Advises that a county archives, which is an integral office of local government and responsible to the local county mayor through the public records commission, is the most effective and economical means of doing this; and
- Encourages local governments to establish, support, and maintain such archives.
In cooperation with CTAS and other agencies, TSLA has designated certain records as permanent based on their value as legal and historical evidence to document the collective experience of the citizens of the community. Such records should be retained and made available to the public in public archives in accordance with T.C.A. § 10-7-503.
TSLA has appraised for historical value the descriptions of temporary records series that are herein recommended for destruction at the ends of their retention terms. Because of the confidence we have in this review and in the guidelines, TSLA certifies that-
- Destruction of records in accordance with these guidelines may be authorized by local public records commissions;
- Public records commissions may issue continuing records disposition authorizations for routine disposals, so that local offices do not have to present repeated requests to the public records commission; and that
- Disposal may then proceed without further review by TSLA;
(1) Local officials report all such disposals to the local public records commission;
(2) The local public records commission certifies to the county mayor that destruction has been authorized in accordance with these guidelines;
(3) The certification cites the specific applicable guideline in each case of authorized destruction; and that
(4) Local public records commissions consider carefully the needs of local historical and genealogical societies, consult with them, and upon their advice or request use the provisions of T.C.A. § 10-7-414(a) to authorize transfer of records otherwise scheduled for destruction (e.g. marriage bonds or court case files) to the local historical society for retention and historical research.
In the interest of building and maintaining a strong sense of community history, TSLA further encourages local public records commissions, executives, and legislative bodies to provide material and financial support for the local preservation and public inspection of such transferred records in accordance with T.C.A. § 10-7-414(c).
Questions about the possible disposition of county records and the establishment of a county archives and records program for the preservation of permanent value records can be referred to-
Tennessee State Library and Archives
403 7th Avenue North
Nashville, Tennessee 37243