Brock University’s historic documents will be safer and better protected with a new grant to improve the condition of its archival space.The Library’s Special Collections and Archives department, home to an extensive Niagara collection that includes War of 1812 material, has received $160,000 through the Canada Cultural Spaces Fund (formerly called Cultural Spaces Canada) program of the Department of Canadian Heritage. This funding will ensure enhanced environmental and safety conditions for the collection. The total project cost is $382,000.“Our government is proud to invest in Brock University’s James A. Gibson Library,” said James Moore, minister of Canadian Heritage and Official Languages. “It is our duty to help preserve Canada’s historic collections for generations to come. The James A. Gibson Library helps to bring our past into the present and safeguard it for the future.”It is important to provide better protection for the rare and valuable resources stored in the archives, said David Sharron, University archivist and head of Special Collections and Archives.“Many of the items in our control are unique and rare. Some are more than 200 years old,” he said. “Other items, such as photographs and film, are more susceptible to damage in the wrong environment. Without these measures in place, there is a greater risk of deterioration and information loss.”With upgrades to the archival space, the Brock Library will be able to collect more resources of high research value, Sharron said. The department will also be better positioned to receive a special designation from the Department of Canadian Heritage to store nationally significant collections, a distinction that currently does not exist in Niagara.“That [absence] leads to important record collections of local, provincial and national importance leaving the area — a trend that can be expected to continue without this action,” Sharron said.Renovations began Oct. 22 and will finish in late February 2010. The space is closed to staff and students during renovations.