The first step is to create a temporary location for Special Collections on the first floor of the Library. The planned project will completely renovate the existing fifth-floor Center and add nearly 1,200 square feet of space. The new Center will feature a state-of-the-art, environmentally controlled and secure shelving area and vault; a classroom dedicated specifically to teaching with special collections; an enhanced reading room for researchers; a separate and secure reception area; improved exhibition spaces; and collaborative workspace for faculty, Library staff and students. The project will take approximately one year, with an anticipated reopening of the Special Collections Research Center in spring 2015.
The Special Collections Research Center is home to the University Library’s rarest and most valuable collections, including rare books, manuscripts, the University Archives and the University Art Collection. It is in Special Collections that students and scholars conduct primary source research utilizing the Library’s unique materials. Notable treasures include a first edition of St. Ignatius’s Ratio Studiorum (1586); Mark Twain’s original handwritten manuscript of Tom Sawyer (ca. 1873-1876); 20,000 volumes on the history of intelligence and espionage; the University’s founding documents; and much more.
The staff of Special Collections will continue to offer services from their temporary space during the renovation project, but ask that you contact them in advance for your research needs. While we do not anticipate many service interruptions beyond Special Collections, we do know that the project may require periodic closings of portions of Lauinger’s fifth floor. Construction may be noisy and dusty at times and we apologize for the inconvenience. Library staff will do their best to communicate disruptions in advance to minimize any effect on our users. Information and updates will be posted regularly at library.georgetown.edu/special-collections/renovation.
The renovation of the Special Collections Research Center is an exciting and necessary step for the Library, to ensure the preservation and security of our most precious materials. The renovated Center will enable Special Collections, the Library and the University to expand their impact on research and scholarship on the Hilltop, in the community and around the globe.