Duke University Libraries have announced a $1.25 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to create a senior conservator position to help care for the libraries' extensive research collections.
The grant includes $250,000 to enable the libraries to appoint someone to the position and a $1 million challenge component that must be met within three years. By meeting the challenge, the libraries will be able to fully endow the position.
Nearly one-third of the holdings in Duke's Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library, which includes more than 350,000 printed volumes, 20 million manuscripts, 200,000 photographs, and ancient papyri currently require conservation treatment. The libraries face a growing need to preserve these materials and make them accessible to researchers. The addition of a senior conservator to Duke's team of conservation professionals will increase the department's level of expertise and the opportunities for outreach and conservation education to the local and academic communities.
"We could not realize our most ambitious goals without the Mellon Foundation's generous support," said Rita DiGiallonardo Holloway university librarian and vice provost for library affairs Deborah Jakubs. "Our research collections are both deep and diverse in coverage and a powerful draw to scholars working in many disciplines. By improving our ability to preserve these materials for the next generation, this grant is supporting not just Duke, but the entire scholarly community."