Indianapolis-based Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded the Indiana University Foundation a nearly $11 million grant to support renovation of the university’s Lilly Library. The library houses more than 450,000 rare books, 8.5 million manuscripts and 150,000 sheets of music.

Associate Director and Curator of Modern Books and Manuscripts Erika Dowell says the grant will fund improvements to heating, air conditioning and security and potentially add capacity for classes to come and do research there.

"Indiana University’s Lilly Library is a state, national and international treasure, and a testament to the vision and generosity of J.K. Lilly Jr.," said IU President Michael McRobbie in a news release. "It has always been universally acclaimed for its unique, world-class collections. Its vibrant and stunning materials continue to astonish all those who use them…with this extraordinary support from Lilly Endowment Inc., the Lilly Library will greatly improve its ability to provide wide access to the library’s rare books, manuscripts and objects to broader audiences — from children to lifelong learners and scholars — enhancing all of our communities."

The Lilly Library opened in 1960 to house the extensive private library of the late Josiah K. Lilly Jr., one of Lilly Endowment’s founders.He donated a collection that includes more than 20,000 rare books and 17,000 manuscripts.

Dowell says the library offers crucial services to students and faculty.