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MU Libraries Receive Kemper Grant for $200,000 to Preserve Rare Books

COLUMBIA, MO – The University of Missouri – Columbia Libraries house many old, rare, and unique books. Because of their age and rarity, these materials require special care. The William T. Kemper Foundation of Kansas City, MO has awarded a grant of $200,000 to help the MU Libraries establish a program to provide this special care.

“We are profoundly grateful to the Kemper Foundation for awarding this grant,” stated Jim Cogswell, Director of Libraries. “With this award, the MU Libraries will, for the first time, be able to provide proper care for our rare books and other artifacts.”

The grant, payable in equal installments over three years, will be used to fund necessary staffing and operational support for the initial phase of a new conservation program in the Libraries. Ultimately, the MU Libraries plan to create a comprehensive program that will provide for the preservation of endangered artifacts and the restoration of deteriorated materials to ensure continued access to these collections by future generations of scholars.

The Libraries plan to engage a consultant to oversee a needs assessment in the Rare Books and Special Collections department and to identify priority requirements within the department. In addition to paying for a consultant, the grant funds will be used to purchase equipment and supplies deemed necessary to protect and preserve the collections.

Grant funds will also be used to augment the recently-announced Friends of the Libraries Adopt-a-Book program. This program will allow individual donors to support the restoration or conservation of specific books in the MU Libraries collections. Funds from the Kemper Foundation grant will match donations made to the Adopt-a-Book program over the next three years. In this way, private donors will be encouraged to support the long-term conservation efforts of the Libraries.

For more information about rare books and special collections at the MU Libraries, visit
http://mulibraries.missouri.edu/specialcollections/. For further information about the Friends’ Adopt-A-Book Program, contact Gena Scott at scottgl@missouri.edu or (573) 882-4701.

The MU Libraries serve a student body of 28,000 plus a faculty of 1,800, with collections of 3.2 million print volumes, 35,000 journal titles (both in print and online), and 7.4 million microforms. With an annual budget of $12.5 million, the Libraries support the instruction, research, service and economic development missions of the University of Missouri-Columbia. By acquiring scholarly resources, developing innovative services, and applying new information technologies, the MU Libraries fulfill their primary purpose: to serve the information needs of users. MU Libraries’ website is at the following address: http://mulibraries.missouri.edu.

The William T. Kemper Foundation — Commerce Bank, Trustee was established in 1989, following Mr. Kemper’s death. The Foundation is dedicated to continuing Mr. Kemper’s lifelong interest in improving the human condition and quality of life. Its philanthropic areas of focus include education, health and human services, civic improvements and the arts.