Contact: Helen Dalrymple, Library of Congress, (202) 707-1940; Bruce Milhans, Architect of the Capitol, (202) 228-1681
November 5, 1999
Librarian of Congress and Architect of the
Capitol Break Ground for Collections Storage
Facility at Ft. Meade
First of Thirteen Planned Storage Modules Will
Accommodate Approximately Two Million Books
Librarian of Congress James H. Billington and Architect of the Capitol Alan Hantman participated in a Nov. 5 ceremonial ground-breaking on a 100-acre site on the grounds of Ft. George G. Meade, Anne Arundel County, Md., for a new storage facility for the Library of Congress. The land was transferred to the Architect of the Capitol for this purpose by the U.S. Army by legislation enacted in 1994.
The first major new building constructed for the Library of Congress in more than two decades, it will consist of a storage module (SM1), an office module, loading docks, mechanical rooms, vestibule and circulation corridors. It is anticipated that the state-of-the art facility will house some two million books in an environment that will help preserve the materials for generations.
Three more storage modules will be added to this first building in the years to come; they will share the loading dock, processing and staff areas being built in this first phase of the project. Other collections storage facilities are planned for the site in the future.
The construction of this off-site storage facility will allow the Library to provide much-needed space for the ever-growing collections on Capitol Hill. The move will also permit the reconfiguration of collections that remain behind so that they can be housed in closer proximity to the reading rooms where they are used; and it will allow the Library to consolidate its operations and release rental space that it now occupies in other locations.
Ft. Meade was selected by the Library and the Architect because it is relatively close to Washington. Materials stored at Ft. Meade will be accessible, and there will be twice-daily deliveries from the off-site storage facility to the Library's campus on Capitol Hill. In addition, technicians will verify citations and provide photocopies from materials stored there when it is urgently required by congressional clients or researchers.
The construction cost of SM1, made possible by a congressional appropriation to the Architect of the Capitol, is approximately $4,700,000. It will have an 8,500 square foot footprint with a height of some 40 feet. Items will be shelved by size in boxes developed to accommodate that specific size item in order to maximize the available storage capacity.
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