The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded the University of California, Berkeley, the largest library preservation grant ever given to a single institution. The grant could total $1.5 million over the next three years, according to the endowment and UC. Immediate target of the funds will be the preservation of thousands of volumes in the European language and literature collections. The money will be used to save books that have grown brittle and fragile with age. The 3-year award includes outright grants of $498,411 and $500,000 in matching funds contingent on public support for fund-raising, creating a potential total of nearly $1.5 million, an endowment official said.