Mellon grant will fund IU Library's preservation activities
April 3, 2001
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. -- A $1 million award from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to the Indiana University Bloomington Libraries will be used to purchase equipment for the library's new preservation laboratory and to establish an endowment to support preservation staff positions.
An initial gift of $300,000 will assist in equipping the planned laboratory, and a matching grant of $700,000, contingent upon the IUB Libraries raising double that amount in private funds, will endow additional positions in the Preservation Department.
"The work of the university is to safeguard and transmit the knowledge of the past while simultaneously leading the way into the future," said IU President Myles Brand. "We simply cannot do that work without our libraries. That is why the Mellon Foundation's grant is of central importance, not only to the library, but to the university as a whole."
With more than 6 million volumes, the IU Libraries have responsibility for a collection ranked 13th in size among North American research libraries. This collection of books is also heavily used. IU's circulation rate is among the highest in the country.
"This is a great boon to our preservation program," said Suzanne Thorin, Ruth Lilly University Dean of University Libraries. "Preserving the library's assets, more than 125 years in creation and brimming with scholarly, unique, and irreplaceable materials, is one of our principal responsibilities. We are extremely pleased."
A new $1.7 million state-of-the-art preservation laboratory will be a component of the Auxiliary Library Facility, an off-site shelving facility that will hold approximately 2.7 million lesser-used volumes from Bloomington campus libraries, including the Lilly Library. Groundbreaking for the facility is scheduled for late spring of this year.
IU currently has no preservation laboratory. The makeshift facilities in the Main Library and the Lilly Library are sorely inadequate; the preservation area in the Lilly Library, in particular, lacks essential space and equipment.
Books must be preserved for many reasons, including heavy use, natural aging, environmental damage (such as from humidity and ultraviolet or incandescent light), mold, pests and overcrowded shelves. About 25 percent of the collections -- or roughly 1.4 million volumes -- are so badly embrittled that any future use will damage them.
"Private support is essential for us to match the grant from the Mellon Foundation," Thorin said. "When the fund-raising is complete, our Preservation Department will benefit from $2.4 million in gifts, and that will go a long way toward preserving our university's prized collections."
IU formally established its preservation program in 1987. Since that time, the IU Libraries have witnessed an explosion in the cost of journals, the development and rapid growth of digital resources, and rising expectations of students and faculty -- all of which place demands on the budget.
For more information, contact Eric Bartheld at 812-856-4817 or email@example.com
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