Mellon Challenge Grant Exceeded

The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library has matched and exceeded the amount of a challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a senior-level book and paper conservator position in its Conservation Unit.

The University Library received a $1.25 million challenge grant in 2010. It included $1 million as a permanent endowment and $250,000 to establish the new senior book and paper conservator position while matching funds were being raised by the Library. The Library committed to matching and exceeding the amount of the grant by raising $1.5 million over three years.

Through gifts to the Library, including a significant gift from the Robert E. Simpson estate, the Library met and surpassed its targeted goal in just 20 months.

In the summer of 2011, the University Library hired Cher Schneider as its senior book and paper conservator. The addition of her position allows the Library to treat a broader spectrum and greater number of paper-based special collections materials in the conservation lab; provide more varied and numerous internship experiences for pre- and post-program conservation interns; and provide the leadership necessary to fully develop the University of Illinois’s role as a leader for conservation education, research, service, and collaboration in the Midwest and the nation.

The fulfilled endowment will generate funding to permanently support Schneider in her newly named position as the Juanita J. and Robert E. Simpson Senior Book and Paper Conservator. She will continue to care for the Special Collections of the Library, including those from The Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the Sousa Archives and Center for American Music, the University Archives, the Map Library, and the Illinois History and Lincoln Collection.

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