The Institute of Museum and Library Services today announced the receipt of a $1,500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support materials research for collections care and the reopening of libraries and museums during the COVID-19 pandemic.
IMLS, the primary source of federal funding for museums and libraries; OCLC, a global library technology and research organization; and Battelle, a not-for-profit global research and development organization, are collaborating to study and share information about how long the COVID-19 virus survives on materials that are prevalent in libraries, archives, and museums.
The project, REopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM), will draw upon the study’s results and other scientific literature to make information available on how materials can be handled to mitigate exposure to staff and visitors. The results from the first round of testing were announced on June 22, 2020.“Scientific research is essential to answer questions about the spread of COVID-19 on materials that are ubiquitous throughout the nation’s libraries and museums,” said IMLS Director Crosby Kemper. “We are thrilled for the support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation in accomplishing this critical research that will facilitate and inform reopening plans for libraries and museums across the country, and possibly the world.”