Tag Archives: fundraising

New Adopt-A-Book Program Supports Conservation Dept.

Our Audubon double elephant folios are on the list of adoptable items along with many other books and manuscripts.

We are pleased to announce a new initiative we have been working on for some time. The Duke University Libraries new Adopt-a-Book Program will raise funds to support the Conservation Services Department by giving you an opportunity to adopt the costs of the conservation treatment for an item from the collection.

How Do You Decide What Is Adoptable?

We select items based on the three classic criteria used for our regular workflows: value, use and risk. An item can be valuable as an object, as part of a larger collection or because of who created or owned it. Use can be through circulation, in the Rubenstein Library reading room, in a class, publication, digital project, exhibit, etc. An item is at the most risk if it cannot be used safely without incurring further damage or loss, or if it cannot be used at all due to its current condition. We work closely with DUL and Rubenstein Library to find items to place on the adoption list that meet all three criteria.

How To Adopt

Collection materials are listed on our website. When you decide which item you would like to adopt, contact Kurt in our Development Office with your selection. He will notify us of your donation and we will schedule the project. When an item is adopted, we will remove it from the list and put a new item in its place. We hope to have a constant flow of new materials available for adoption, so check back often.

Benefits of Adoption

An electronic bookplate will be displayed in the record when you adopt its conservation treatment.

When you adopt an item we will list you as a contributor on our website, and we will place an electronic bookplate in the item’s catalog record. If you wish to remain anonymous, be sure to tell Development and we will honor your request. You may also adopt in honor of someone or something special such as your mom on Mother’s Day, your son or daughter at graduation, etc.

The adoption process is easy. One quick phone call or email can help save a book, manuscript or archival document. Your support helps us in our mission to protect our collections and make them accessible now and in the future.


Help Save Timbuktu Manuscripts

Today we received the following email from Debra Hess Norris, Director of the Winterthur/University of Delaware Program in Art Conservation. She has given me permission to re-post her email in its entirety. Please consider re-posting  or linking to this information so that we can spread this widely, time is of the essence.*

Dear Friends,

In the last two days I have exchanged multiple emails with Stephanie Diakité  (see her bio below) who worked tirelessly in 2012 with others to evacuate 300,000 manuscripts from Timbuktu in the midst of  civil war.

These medieval African documents are a living testimony of the highly advanced and refined civilization in sub-Saharan Africa. They cover diverse subjects, including mathematics, chemistry, physics, optics, astronomy, medicine, Islamic sciences, history, geography, governance, legislation and treaties, jurisprudence and literary and artistic subjects, including poetry, music and even culinary arts.

contents of footlocker
Contents of a footlocker of evacuated manuscripts in a safehouse in Bamako

Subsequent to  evacuation to the south, the manuscripts were crammed in metal chests used for their transport and continued mobility. The chests are heavy and the manuscripts risk immediate physical damage as they are tightly packed, without additional housing. The rains will start later this month and many fear these irreplaceable documents risk immediate degradation, including permanent deformation and mold.

Efforts are underway to raise urgently needed funds and supplies as these documents must be protected from humidity and further damage.

Stephanie and the people of Mali need our help. Now.  Her video is compelling.

The German government, in collaboration with the Gerda Henkel Foundation, will support the conservation of 20,000 manuscripts.  280,000 manuscripts remain to be housed in archival-quality boxes buffered with silica gel to trap humidity. The work will be done in the safehouses under the protection of nightfall by members of the library families.

To raise funds and to build awareness and support, Stephanie and her colleagues have launched a world-wide initiative entitled T-160K Timbuktu Libraries in Exile. To date, more than 400 contributors have shown their support for implementation of this emergency conservation strategy through direct donations.

I hope you will join me and others in helping to save these ancient African manuscripts for the world. A donation of $30 will rehouse one manuscript. Together, we can do much more!  Donations must be received by June 20, 2013.  

Many, many thanks and with best regards, Debbie

Information About The Conservators

Stephanie Diakité, JC-JD/MBA/Phd is an attorney and a poverty eradication institutional development specialist working in more than 40 countries in sub-Saharan Africa through her firm, Dintl, and a book artist and book and paper conservation specialist.  She has extensive program and funding management experience and has provided services to some of the most important multilateral and bilateral, private sector, and philanthropic donors working in Sub-Saharan Africa (see her website for a selection of organizations Dintl has worked with). 

She has trained hundreds of generational artisans back to book arts and book conservation in northern Mali.  She has designed, developed and delivered socio-economic development programming based on indigenous scholarship and revised legislation protecting the rights of stakeholders in indigenous knowledge in Mali, all ECOWAS and African Union member states.

abdel kader
Abdel Kader in his family library before it was evacuated from Timbuktu

Abdel Kader Haidara is the generational curator of one of the most important libraries of manuscripts in Timbuktu and founder of SAVAMA DCI, an association of private Timbuktu libraries committed to public access. SAVAMA DCI has extensive program implementation experience and has successfully managed grants from organizations ranging from the Ford Foundation to bilateral aid agencies (see the SAVAMA DCI website for a selection of organizations SAVAMA DCI has partnered with).  He was awarded an honorary Doctorate from the University of Lyon for his work in support of the Timbuktu Manuscripts.


*The usual disclaimer: The views and policies herein do not reflect those of Duke University or Duke University Libraries.  Duke University and Duke University Libraries do not endorse any individuals, websites or programs referred to herein.

Small Gifts Can Make A Difference

Bound newspapers (before boxing)
Chicago Tribune (1906) newspapers before boxing.

‘Tis the season to give thanks for all that we have. In that spirit, we would like to express our appreciation for one of our donors, Mike Plaisance, for his generosity over the past several years. Mr. Plaisance has given to the Library every month since May, 2008.

His gifts have helped us purchase enclosures for the bound newspapers in the American Newspaper Repository. These enclosures protect the contents from environmental changes, and keep the bound volumes safe during transport between the Rubenstein Library reading room and the Library Service Center where this collection is housed.

While Mr. Plaisance’s gift is not the multi-million dollar contribution that we usually publicize, smaller gifts like these add up and can really make a difference. Mr. Plaisance’s monthly contribution has been a meaningful and useful gift, and has helped us protect and preserve this high-use collection. Thank you Mr. Plaisance!!

bound newspaper after boxing
If a newspaper is slightly smaller than the box, we custom fit a spacer to keep it from “swimming” inside during transportation.
Bound newspapers after boxing
Chicago Tribune (1906) after boxing.