The Ella Johnson Crandall Memorial Library at Union College will be better able to preserve documents and artifacts for future generations thanks to a gift from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of federal funding for America's libraries and museums. Union's library is one of the first institutions to receive the IMLS Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, a set of books, DVDs and online resources. The Bookshelf addresses the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness and culturally-specific conservation issues.
"We are pleased to announce the first group of IMLS Bookshelf recipients," said Anne-Imelda Radice, director of IMLS. "These small libraries and museums are taking up the charge to care for America's heritage." The 2,000 recipients were chosen by IMLS and the American Association for State and Local History from among the nation's 122,000 libraries and 17,500 museums.
The IMLS Bookshelf is a crucial component of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action (site: imls.gov), a conservation initiative launched in response to a 2005 study in which Union participated. The study documented the dire state of the nation's collections, especially those held by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections. "Without immediate action we stand to lose important collections that are at the heart of the American story," Radice said.
Union received the Bookshelf based on an application that described the library's challenges and plans to care for its collection. The Crandall Library's Heritage Room contains publications, documents and artifacts which tell the stories of the college, the College View community and the Seventh-day Adventist Church.
"Preserving our collection has been a big concern for us," said Sabrina Riley, library director. "The library staff has accomplished great things working with limited resources and opportunities, but we realize we can't attain all our goals on our own. The Bookshelf is a big first step toward securing the resources and training we need. It will enable us to better organize, manage and conserve the history entrusted to us."