The University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Library has received a $1.25 million challenge grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a senior-level conservator position in its Conservation Unit.
The Mellon Foundation grant includes $1 million as a permanent endowment and $250,000 to establish the new senior conservator position while matching funds are being raised. The University Library has committed to match and exceed the amount of the grant by raising $1.5 million over three years. The endowment will generate funding to support the position permanently.
The addition of the Andrew W. Mellon Endowed Conservator will allow the University 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 University Library is one of the largest and richest public research library collections in North America. A vast majority of its 24 million items are paper- and book-based. The University Library is committed to sustaining and enhancing its capacity to treat and protect its important paper-based collections, with the majority of conservation- and preservation-related investments focused on the care of its rare, unique, and otherwise valuable objects.
“We are grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their generous support,” said Jennifer Hain Teper, Head of Preservation & John “Bud” Velde Preservation Librarian. “A senior conservator will be instrumental in further developing our ability to care for our collections, as well as provide leadership for efforts such as research, education, training, and outreach in the state, throughout the Midwest region, and across the nation.