The University of Southern Maine has received a gift of a half-million dollars from a longtime library employee and lover of rare books.

USM says Albert Howard’s gift will go to its Special Collections at the Glickman Family Library. Howard worked at USM libraries for 35 years. He died in 2017.

USM President Glenn Cummings said the significance of Howard’s gift “cannot be stated strongly enough.”

Howard was a lifelong book collector who catalogued rare books at Colby College in Waterville and Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia before coming to USM. He had a collection of 1,670 volumes that he left to the Portland university.

The university says $450,000 of Howard’s gift will be used to create an endowment to support the collection in perpetuity.

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