Jennifer Davis and Nathan Dorn contributed to this post.
On Friday, June 28, 2019, the Law Library held a ribbon-cutting ceremony to open a new secure storage facility that will be home for much of the Law Library’s rare book collection. The Law Library currently stores some of its rare collection in a smaller vault as well as storing some of its rare materials in space borrowed from other divisions at the Library of Congress. Consolidating the collection improves collection security and access.
The secure storage facility differs from our existing vault in a few important ways: it has over 9,000 linear feet of shelving; it has modern compact shelving; and it has state-of-the-art cooling, humidification, fire retardation and security systems.
This new storage facility has about 4 times more shelf space than the existing vault contains. The temperature of this vault hovers between 50 to 55 degrees Fahrenheit–better than the Law Library’s current vault shelving space, which generally stays at 65 degrees. Relative humidity is very important for storing rare books in particular, and the relative humidity for this room is ideal. The Library can now store its manuscripts, incunables and other very rare and special materials in this modern facility knowing they are in the very best conditions possible. The vault has two rooms, with one room dedicated to holding Prints & Photographs Division collection items.
Thanks to the large size of the vault and the maximization of its shelving capacity, we will have space for growth as the Law Library continues to build its rare law book and manuscript collection. We are excited to consolidate collections and populate this room!
Congratulations! So glad to see that investing in the safeguarding of the Law Library’s rare collection continues and congrats to Prints and Photographs as well.