NACOGDOCHES, Texas - Treasured objects and artifacts held by the Stone Fort Museum at Stephen F. Austin State University will be preserved for future generations with help from the Connecting to Collections Bookshelf, a core set of conservation books and online resources donated by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

The institute is the primary source of federal funding of the nation's museums and libraries. IMLS, in cooperation with the American Association for State and Local History, has now awarded almost 3,000 free sets of the Bookshelf.

"The Bookshelf will guide policy development in care of the collection and training for student employees and volunteers," said Stone Fort Museum Curator Carolyn Spears. "It's also a valuable resource in implementing the recent American Heritage Preservation grant supporting conservation work on the wedding dresses of Anna Raguet and Harriett Taylor."

The Stone Fort Museum was awarded the set of resources based on an application describing the needs and plans for the care of its collections. The IMLS Bookshelf focuses on collections typically found in art or history museums and in libraries' special collections, with an added selection of texts for zoos, aquaria, public gardens and nature centers. It addresses such topics as the philosophy and ethics of collecting, collections management and planning, emergency preparedness, and culturally specific conservation issues.

The IMLS Bookshelf is a major component of Connecting to Collections: A Call to Action, a conservation initiative that the Institute launched in 2006. IMLS began the initiative in response to a 2005 study by Heritage Preservation documenting the dire state of the nation's collections. The multi-faceted, multi-year initiative shines a nationwide spotlight on the needs of America's collections, especially those held by smaller institutions, which often lack the human and financial resources necessary to adequately care for their collections.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services is the primary source of federal support for the nation's 123,000 libraries and 17,500 museums. Its mission is to create strong libraries and museums that connect people to information and ideas. The Institute works at the national level and in coordination with state and local organizations to sustain heritage, culture, and knowledge; enhance learning and innovation; and support professional development. To learn more about the Institute, please visit