The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant


Prairie View A&M University – (October 29, 2007). The John B. Coleman Library at Prairie View A&M University is one of eleven (11) Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) selected to participate in the Andrew W. Mellon $1.4 Million grant awarded to Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware and the Atlanta based Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET), in partnership with the HBCU Library Alliance, also headquartered in Atlanta, and the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) in Philadelphia. The grant is to fund a 30-month, “four-phase” initiative to improve the preservation of significant photographic collections held within the Archives and Special Collections of HBCU Libraries.

The John B. Coleman Library, along with the other 10 participants (Fisk, Delaware State, Fayetteville State/NC, Hampton, Kentucky State, Lincoln Univ./MO, Tennessee State, Tuskegee, Virginia State, and the Atlanta University Center, which includes Spelman and Morehouse), will be eligible for up to $60,000 each, of the Mellon Grant to further preserve “selected collections” from their respective photographic holdings. As Kate Nevins, Executive Director of SOLINET stated when the grant award was announced: “These collections document the visual and institutional history and legacy of HBCUS; and form a core of primary research materials for the study of African American history.”

In the letter of notification to President George C. Wright, and Dr. Rosie L. Albritton, Director of Library Services at Prairie View A&M University, Mrs. Loretta Parham, Chair of the HBCU Library Alliance and CEO/Library Director of the Woodruff Library at the Atlanta University Center, stated the following: “The evidence of qualified staff responsible for preservation and archives, and the existence of a historically important photographic collection were significant to your selection.”

Dr. Albritton, Ms. Phyllis Earles, University Archivist and Head of Special Collections & Archives, and Mrs. Helen Yeh, Assistant Director for Technical Services, recently participated in the “first-phase” of the project by attending the “HBCU Library Alliance Photographic Preservation Summit” at the University of Delaware and at the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts, September 30 through October 3, 2007. The John B. Coleman Library currently holds close to 15,000 historical photographic images in the Special Collections & Archives Department, at Prairie View A&M University

The Grant Project will enter “phase-two” on November 12, 2007, when an “on-site assessment” of the historical photographic collections held in Special Collections & Archives, at the John B. Coleman Library, will be conducted by a Consultant from the Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA), and a Preservation Graduate Assistant, assigned by the Project Coordinators at the University of Delaware and the CCAHA.

Other “phases” of this important project include “funding for implementing the local preservation projects” and the provision of special equipment for “environmental monitoring” of Archival facilities at all eleven participating HBCU Libraries. Long-term, the project will promote opportunities for sharing resources and conservation knowledge within the broader HBCU network, and introduce HBCU undergraduates to graduate studies and careers in conservation and preservation, as well as other professional opportunities within libraries, archives, and museums.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation:
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is a private foundation that makes grants on a selective basis in the areas of higher education, museums and art conservation, performing arts, and conservation and the environment. Information about the Foundation, including its annual reports, is available on its website,

The HBCU Library Alliance:
HBCU libraries serve as unique and indispensable gatekeepers of history, culture, and the African-American experience. Created by the deans and directors of these libraries in 2002, the HBCU Library Alliance seeks to ensure excellence in HBCU libraries through the development, coordination and promotion of programs and activities to enhance members’ collections and services. Visit the HBCU Library Alliance website at

Founded in 1973, SOLINET is a not-for-profit membership organization serving more that 2,700 libraries of all types and sizes in ten Southeastern states and the Caribbean. Primary programs are Member Outreach, OCLC Services, Preservation & Access, Electronic Resources, Library Products, Digital Services, Educational Services, and Consulting. Visit the SOLINET website at

The Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware:
The Art Conservation Department at the University of Delaware administers both undergraduate and graduate programs. The department’s faculty includes leading scientists and conservators in the treatment and preservation of paintings, works of art on paper, photographic materials, furniture, textiles, decorative, archeological and ethnographic objects, and architectural surfaces. Visit the University of Delaware website at

The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts:
The Conservation Center for Art and Historic Artifacts (CCAHA) has grown to be one of the largest regional conservation laboratories in the country. Its wide array of services, sophisticated treatment facilities, innovative approaches, and highly trained and experienced staff have earned it a prominent and respected place in the conservation field. A non-profit organization, CCAHA’s organizational structure includes a board of directors composed of representatives of cultural institutions and leaders in business and in the community; an executive director; and an expertly trained staff. Visit the CCAHA website at

The John B. Coleman Library – Prairie View A&M University:
The John B. Coleman Library currently holds over 350,00 print volumes, including over 800 periodical titles, and provides access to several thousand electronic full-text scholarly online journals and other resources. The Library provides several public service contact points, including the Reference Desk, the Circulation Desk, the Periodicals Desk, and the Information Desk. The Library is fully automated with terminals available for public use, and maintains a fully integrated library technology system to support all library operations and technical services. The Library is also responsible for providing Distance Library Services for Nursing Program located in the Houston Medical Center, and for Graduate Programs offered at the Northwest Center, Spring Texas, and in Dallas, Texas. The Library is a member of the statewide database-sharing program, TexShare, the Houston Area Research Libraries Consortium (HARLIC), the Texas Library Association (TLA), the American Library Association (ALA), the Black Caucus of the American Library Association (BCALA), and the HBCU Library Alliance.

October 29, 2007

This page was constructed under the direction of Dr. Rosie L. Albritton.