Arts & Culture

Harvard University Library awarded $5M grant from Arcadia Fund

2 min read

Britain’s Arcadia Fund has awarded $5 million to the Harvard University Library. Arcadia’s five-year grant will provide flexible support for the library’s core functions: acquisitions, access, preservation, and dissemination.

University Library director Robert Darnton announced that, initially, Arcadia’s grant will be used to strengthen the library’s print collections, to support processing of 17th and 18th century collections in the archives, and to underwrite conservation treatments for fragile or damaged material from 17th and 18th century collections.

“In providing a high level of flexible, discretionary support for the Harvard libraries, Arcadia has shown not only extraordinary generosity, but great insight into the complexities facing research libraries today,” Darnton stated. “As we expand our involvement in digital innovation and diverse modes of communication, we must renew the core collections and services that form our traditional strengths. Arcadia has given us the means to do so.”

Formerly the Lisbet Rausing Charitable Fund, Arcadia was established in 2001 by Lisbet Rausing, Ph.D. ’93, and Peter Baldwin, Ph.D. ’86. Arcadia’s key mission is to protect endangered treasures of culture and nature. This includes near-extinct languages, rare historical archives, and museum-quality artifacts; and the protection of ecosystems and environments threatened with extinction. Arcadia has historically donated to charities working to protect free societies and human rights, to encourage education, and to promote philanthropy.

In announcing the Arcadia grant, Rausing stated, “One of the Harvard University Library’s aims is to ensure its position as a premier research institution. We hope our grant to the library will greatly assist in this aim.”

Arcadia also provides critical support for Harvard’s Open Collections Program (OCP). Through OCP, the libraries create subject-specific, Web-accessible collections, open to anyone with an Internet connection.