COLUMBIA, Mo.− The University of Missouri (MU) Libraries have received $400,000 from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support remediation or content replacement of materials damaged by an extensive mold outbreak in an off-site storage facility. This outbreak, discovered in October 2013, is presumed to have contaminated all of the approximately 600,000 volumes housed in that facility.
Partnerships with Washington University in St. Louis (WUSTL) and Missouri State University (MSU) will provide access to replacement copies of federal government documents and inter-library loan access to Missouri state materials, respectively. Subcontracts with these universities through this project will support the cataloguing, retrieving and preparing of relevant materials to share with MU Libraries on an as-needed basis. The funding also will help MU review the availability of online or print-ready copies of needed replacements through cooperation with membership organizations. WUSTL will benefit by regaining space vacated by federal documents transferred to MU, while MSU will benefit by having its Missouri state materials catalogued in order to provide access to MU and other area libraries.
“The MU Libraries are deeply grateful to the Mellon Foundation for their support of this project that leverages tools of digital librarianship to help preserve scholarship in traditional formats,” said MU Libraries Director Jim Cogswell. “Institutional partnerships will enable the preservation of regional documents collections. The Mellon Foundation funding will allow MU Libraries to remediate mold for key groups of materials, work effectively with partner institutions for resource sharing, provide continued access to needed content of the damaged materials, and support part of the recovery effort.”
MU Libraries also will spend up to $600,000 from a self-insurance fund; additional sources are being explored. MU Libraries has contracted with a company for remediation services and negotiated for rental of two storage spaces, one in which pre-treated materials will be stored until they are cleaned, and one for storage of the remediated materials. As a longer-term solution, the Libraries are working with University of Missouri (UM) System's risk and insurance management department to develop a new strategy for fully insuring all collections, including those in storage, and will work with campus and UM System leadership to restore a plan for building an expansion to an existing storage facility and to accelerate fund allocation for its construction.