The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded the Columbia University Libraries a $1,250,000 grant to establish an endowment for a new senior conservator position. Columbia will raise a matching $1 million over three years to endow the position, while the $250,000 allows the Libraries to proceed with the recruitment and appointment.
The new senior conservator will join an experienced and expert team of conservation professionals and technicians at Columbia, and will focus on paper and book treatments in the extensive special collections across the Libraries. In addition, the new position will advance Columbia's already strong collaborations with other institutions in conservation education and training, and expand communication with the science community on book and paper conservation.
"Over the last decade, the quantity and range of special and rare materials held by the Libraries have grown exponentially, while the number of conservation staff has remained static. Several repositories have joined the library system. At the same time, all of Columbia’s rare and special collections have energetically increased the scope and pace of new acquisitions," said Janet Gertz, director of the Preservation and Digital Conversion division. Today the Libraries hold combined collections amounting to over 900,000 rare books, more than 85,000 linear feet of archives and manuscripts, and thousands of other documents and realia, ranging from clay tablets and papyri from the ancient world to artists books, music scores, and architectural renderings from the present day.
"This generous support from the Mellon Foundation affirms the commitment of the Columbia Libraries to the long-term preservation, availability and use of our extraordinary special collections by our own faculty and students, and by scholars from all over the world," stated Jim Neal, Vice President for Information Services and University Librarian.
Columbia University Libraries/Information Services is one of the top five academic research library systems in North America. The collections include over 10 million volumes, over 100,000 journals and serials, as well as extensive electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms, maps, graphic and audio-visual materials. The services and collections are organized into 22 libraries and various academic technology centers. The Libraries employs more than 550 professional and support staff. The website of the Libraries is the gateway to its services and resources: library.columbia.edu.