On campus, Buley Library is at the heart of new and innovative resources available to support students’ success, and in recent months, librarians’ efforts at grant writing to enhance the library’s offerings have succeeded, resulting in two new grants.
Kari Swanson, acquisitions and collection development coordinator, and Patrick Crowley, head of Special Collections, each led the way on securing grants to further the library’s mission. The grants enrich the library’s offerings and safeguard invaluable resources for future scholars and history lovers alike.
Crowley explained the journey to acquiring a federal grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). Co-written by Crowley, Tina Re, and Elizabeth Wilkinson, the grant offers $8,584 to conduct a general preservation assessment of the Buley Library Special Collections and Archives, which include 13,000 rare volumes, 250 artists’ books from small and fine presses, and materials documenting the history of Southern Connecticut State University.
“Our goal here is to take these rich collections that we have had for many years and are continuing to add to and ensure that they’re there for students and faculty in the coming decades and centuries,” Crowley said.
According to Crowley, this small grant will help Buley build capacity towards larger grants. The NEH grant, in particular, is offered for assistance in assessing and preserving one’s environment and storage areas and the preservation status of one’s materials. The grant is one of six made by NEH to Connecticut-based organizations in the current cycle.
“After the assessment, we’re hoping to use that report and the rest of the money to buy some equipment like dehumidifiers, disaster response supplies, and temperature and humidity monitors to help us better track and respond to changes in temperature that could damage books,” Crowley said.
He expressed his enthusiasm about the opportunity to assess and preserve the library’s historical materials. The grant is more than just a grant; it’s a chance to protect the legacy of decades past and share it with the generations to come.
Swanson, who wrote the Public, Educational, and Governmental Programming and Educational Technology Investment Account (PEGPETIA) grant, explains that it is significant “because it will ensure that our students continue to have access to important content for their learning.” The grant offers $29,000 to purchase perpetual access to a set of 58 high-use, high-request films through the Kanopy platform. These films support various academic programs and enhance faculty’s online teaching abilities. They are now available for teaching and learning in perpetuity and are accessible through Southern Search.
“What it will mean for individual students,” Swanson said, “is that they will not have to purchase access to these videos themselves.”
According to Swanson, the grant isn’t just about streaming videos but about enabling students to access a world of knowledge from their screens. It is a bridge connecting classrooms to diverse disciplines, offering documentaries, lessons, and insights that transcend traditional learning boundaries.
“The goal was to secure specific high-demand videos, typically accessible through platforms like Films on Demand but lacking perpetual access guarantees. This initiative aimed to address the challenge of limited funding for perpetual access titles by applying for a grant to purchase essential and frequently assigned videos, ensuring continued access for educational purposes,” said Swanson.
Crowley and Swanson are pleased with the results of their efforts. Crowley expressed a sense of validation, knowing their efforts and collections were appreciated beyond the library’s walls, while Swanson is happy that the PEGPETIA grant ensures students won’t have to worry about individual costs for essential learning resources.
Amy Beth, director of library services, explained that the pursuit and awarding of grants provides colleagues the opportunity to do minor-scale assessments, as the application process requires an articulation of need. She says that her colleagues delivered and were rewarded for it.
“Kudos to our colleagues for bringing their skills to the process and for supplementing our fairly lean budget in continuing to explore dynamic opportunities for colleagues and collections to bring forth Buley’s best,” she said.
Lisa Bier, previously the interim library director, also praised her colleagues for seeking and securing the grants. “We haven’t applied for many grants before, and I became interested in this once I learned more about the library’s budget after becoming the interim director,” she said. “The budget is very tight, and any additional money from an outside source allows us to do new things – new library initiatives and new services we can offer.”