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New Grants Help Columbia Libraries Preserve Rare Books and Recordings

The University Libraries are elevating the importance of their nontraditional media collections. Grants from New York State and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will help fund new initiatives by the Libraries to survey and secure the University's collections of rare books and audio recordings, and to preserve these collections for generations to come.

A New York State grant will provide over $37,000 for a Columbia-led effort to preserve and photocopy endangered color atlases and other oversize materials at the Columbia, New York University and SUNY Stony Brook libraries.

"Many of these items are in constant use by library patrons and show signs of extensive damage and deterioration," said Janet Gertz, director of preservation at Columbia University Libraries and coordinator of the Preservation Photocopy Project. "We are targeting items that are heavily used," she went on, explaining that this is the "first time we've had a good format for replacing these materials that will allow them be used as they were meant to be."

The project will produce approximately 4,350 photocopies on acid-free paper that can be shelved in open-stack areas of the libraries. The originals will be protected in storage facilities. For more information on this project, visit http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/news/libraries/2005/2005-10-04.nys_project.html.

At a time when non-print documents have become increasingly important to humanities and social science research, Columbia Libraries will also use $160,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to conduct a two-year survey of the University's audio and moving image materials, including tapes of Eleanor Roosevelt, Martin Luther King, Jr. and other historic figures. Additional details on this grant are available at http://www.columbia.edu/cu/lweb/news/libraries/2005/2005-09-29.mellon_grant.html.

"We have over 40,000 unique pieces in our audio and moving image collections," said Gertz. "The survey will enable us to identify the ones that are most endangered and most important, and thus to set meaningful priorities."

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Published: Oct 28, 2005
Last modified: Oct 28, 2005

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