Grant Opportunity: Protecting Priority Collections

Protecting Priority Collections

Flexible preservation funding for your highest priority collection needs.

Books on shelves.Grant Amount:

Up to $15,000

Time Range:

1 year



Staff Contact:

Lyndsay Forbes

Program Description

This grant will support the implementation of recommendations from previous Preservation Assessments, and specific preservation needs for library and archive collections of distinction. Funds can be used for a variety of preservation activities.

The biggest focus of this grant is to provide support to implement recommendations that resolve known preservation issues. Appropriate activities can include the purchase of equipment (e.g. dehumidifiers, data loggers, etc.), increased staff hours or expert assistance. Consultants or staff can develop collections management policies, organize collections committees, and improve local holdings records and inventories.

Another expected use of funds in this category is for developing better institutional controls and knowledge about their special collections. Successful projects can include support for the development of institutional knowledge, or engagement with consultants, to provide any of the following:

  • Condition surveys,
  • Planning and supplies for re-housing collections,
  • Data migration for collections metadata,
  • Inventorying and photographing collections,
  • Provenance research,
  • Subject specialist consultations, and
  • Appraisals.

Libraries should include significant programming and outreach components to coincide with this grant. Libraries should seek out partnerships with historical, academic, and collecting persons and institutions at the local, regional, and, where appropriate, national levels.

In addition to satisfying the eligibility requirements for LSTA Direct Grants set by MBLC, applicants for this category must have recently completed a formal Preservation Assessment on file with MBLC by the application deadline. In lieu of this Preservation Assessment, applicants can complete two online questionnaires, available at MBLC LibGuide for Preservation in MA Libraries | Forms:

  1. Preservation Self-Assessment
  2. Special Collection Management Priorities

Ideal collections for this grant would be discrete ‘special collections’ however they are defined by the applicant. They can be arranged in any way, by provenance, subject, or format, etc., but the applicant should demonstrate their community significance.


Library staffs are often tasked with managing “Special Collections” without deep understanding of the objects within the collection. In order to enhance the understanding of one’s collections, increased accessibility of these collections to their communities, and to ensure their longevity for future generations, many libraries need specialized support to plan and implement preservation projects. Massachusetts libraries often have prioritized their collections of significance but lack the specialized knowledge necessary to approach collection-level preservation projects. While Preservation Assessments address structural and organizational risks to an institution’s entire collection, they do not evaluate the condition and specific needs of particular subsets of the collection. Thus libraries with Preservation Assessments often are unable to pursue preservation activities that address their most important items that have local, regional, and national significance.

For More Information

Robert Favini, Head of Library Advisory and Development
617-725-1860 x237
857-488-6590 (Mobile)

Amy Clayton, Administrative Coordinator
617-725-1860 x228
857-488-6408 (Mobile)