The MU Libraries received a $200,000 grant to provide special care to old, rare and unique books.
The William T. Kemper Foundation, a philanthropic organization, awarded the grant, according to a news release from the UM system Libraries.
"We are profoundly grateful to the Kemper Foundation for awarding this grant," Director of MU Libraries Jim Cogswell stated in the release. "With this award, the MU Libraries will, for the first time, be able to provide proper care for our rare books and other artifacts."
Cogswell was not available for comment.
MU Libraries spokeswoman Shannon Cary said the grant would not pay for all the future plans afor book restoration but would be the start.
"The plan is to develop a program for the restoration and preservation of books at the MU Libraries," Cary said. "The grant would jumpstart the program."
The grant, which is payable in equal installments over three years, will be used to hire a consultant to assess the priorities for the spending in the Rare Books and Special Collections department. It will also go toward purchasing supplies for protecting the books and collections in the libraries.
The funds will also augment the Friends of the Library Adopt-a-Book program, which takes donations from individuals to support the restoration and conservation of specific books. The Kemper Foundation will match the individuals' donations.
The release said this would encourage private donors to support the long-term conservation of the MU Libraries.
The MU Libraries will eventually create a comprehensive plan to provide for the preservation of the rare books and collections.
The Libraries serve 28,000 students and 1,800 faculty members.
Collectively, they contain 3.2 million print volumes, 35,000 journal titles and 7.4 million microforms.
The special collections include books, microform (which is "technically any materials containing miniaturized images requiring magnification to be viewed") and a growing digital collection.
The MU Libraries Web site stated, "The collections are diverse and include a substantial Rare Book Collection with material dating to the eighth century and a Comic Art Collection focused on underground comics and reprints of classic comic strips."