The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Library Receives Conservation Bookshelf

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May 1, 2008 by J. Johnson

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium Library has been awarded
the Connecting to Collections Bookshelf. The Connecting to
Collections Bookshelf is a core set of conservation books,
DVD’s, and online resources donated by the Institute of
Museum and Library Services (IMLS), the primary source of
federal funding of the nation’s museums and libraries. IMLS
and its cooperator, the American Association for State and
Local History (AASLH), will award a total of 2,000 free sets
of the IMLS Bookshelf by the end of 2008 in the hope that
these resources will help raise the conservation IQ of
museums, libraries, and archives.

“We are pleased to announce the first group of IMLS
Bookshelf recipients. These small libraries and museums
are taking up the charge to care for America’s heritage,”
said Anne-Imelda Radice, Director of IMLS. “A recent
national study tells a sobering story about the state of
America’s library and museum collections. Without
immediate action we stand to lose important collections
that are at the heart of the American story.”

Across the country, museums and libraries with limited
resources face losing their collections due to neglect and
everyday threats like exposure to light, humidity, abnormal
temperatures, and infestation.

The Columbus Zoo and Aquarium is among the first to
receive this essential set of resources (one of 851 U.S.
libraries and one of only 27 recipients in Ohio) based on an
application describing the needs and plans for care of its
collections. The IMLS Bookshelf includes essential resources
for the care of collections that focuses on collections
typically found in art or history museums and in libraries’
special collections, with an added selection of texts for
zoos, aquaria, public gardens, and nature centers. It
addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of
collecting, collections management and planning,
emergency preparedness, and culturally specific
conservation issues.

Two panels of experts, convened by HP, made
recommendations to IMLS on the contents of the bookshelf.
Among the publications selected were The National Trust
Manual of Housekeeping (published by the British National
Trust in 2005), the Field Guide to Emergency Response
(published by Heritage Preservation in 2006), and
Essentials of Conservation Biology (published by Primack in
2006).

The IMLS Bookshelf is a crucial component of Connecting to
Collections: a Call to Action, a conservation initiative that
the Institute launched in 2006. IMLS began the initiative in
response to a 2005 study, co-sponsored by IMLS, called A
Public Trust at Risk: the Heritage Health Index Report about
the State of America’s Collections, documenting the dire
state of the nation’s collections. The study found that nearly
190 million objects in U.S. collections are in immediate
danger and need our help. Once we lose these collections,
we sadly cannot get them back, a possibility with profound
impact for future generations of learners. The multifaceted,
multi-year initiative shines a nationwide spotlight
on the needs of America’s collections, especially those held
by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and
financial resources necessary to adequately care for their
collections.

Instructions, qualifications, and the content of the IMLS
Bookshelf, along with the online application, can be found
online (www.aaslh.org/Bookshelf). The final application
period is March 1 – April 30, 2008, with recipients
announced in July 2008. For more information about this
initiative or other IMLS grant opportunities contact Jeannine
Mjoseth at IMLS by phone (202-653-4632) or e-mail
(jmjoseth AT imls.gov)

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