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Shepherd University’s library receives NEH preservation assessment grant

By Staff | Jan 6, 2017

Submitted photo Christine Toms, who oversees special collections, digital initiatives, and the Scarborough Library website, stands in the archive room where the special collections are housed. The library received a $5,995 National Endowment for the Humanities preservation assessment grant for small institutions to have an assessment condcuted on how the documents are stored.

Shepherd University’s Scarborough Library received a National Endowment for the Humanities preservation assessment grant for small institutions that will help in the library’s effort to preserve its archives and special collections.

The $5,995 grant will allow the library to get expert assistance from the Northeast Document Conservation Center, an independent conservation laboratory located in Andover, Massachusetts.

Christine Toms, who oversees special collections, digital initiatives, and the library website, said a specialist from the conservation center will visit campus in the spring to conduct an assessment of how Shepherd is storing its historic documents. Toms said the specialist will evaluate everything from the boxes and rooms the collections are stored in to whether anything from outside the library could be impacting the collections. Toms said the specialist will also suggest a plan for preserving the collections in case of a disaster.

“Once that assessment is completed we will create short-term, mid-term and long-term goals for preserving the items in the collections,” Toms said.

“It will allow the items that we have, which chronicle the history of Shepherd University, education within the state of West Virginia, and the history of Shepherdstown itself, to be preserved infinitely and to be more accessible.”

Toms said once the assessment is done, the library will receive a written report suggesting improvements.

“I’m very excited,” she said. “It’s a big deal because the National Endowment for the Humanities is saying that our collections have value. They feel that we have such great collections that they’re willing to invest in preserving them for researchers, for students, and for community members.”