Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building

After the second day of the PeDALS partners meeting ended, we went on a tour of the Polly Rosenbaum Archives and History Building, the new storage, processing, and research facility of the Arizona State Library, Archives and Public Records.

Staff moved into the building last week and are in the midst of doing tons of setup work, so I'm not going to post any photos of the interior. However, the building, which was built specifically to hold cultural heritage materials, is chock-full of great features, including:
  • A dedicated isolation area, with blast freezer and humidification chamber, for incoming records transfers
  • A secure public reading room that can accommodate tables for 10 researchers and a dedicated area for approximately 10 microfilm/microfiche reader-printers
  • Separate processing areas for paper records, photographs, electronic records and audiovisual materials, and artifacts
  • Seven storage compartments featuring tall (16 feet high) compact shelving
  • Cold storage for microform masters
  • A server room with hard-wired uninterruptible power supply, backup generators, and a backup HVAC system
  • A large conservation lab
  • Four separate HVAC systems, all of which can be monitored remotely, that are designed to remove pollutants and maintain consistent temperature and humidity
  • Security cameras -- with remote monitoring capability -- in the research room, staff work areas, and storage areas
  • Wired and wireless Internet access throughout the building
Although the building was designed to accommodate the State Library, Archives, and Public Records' needs for the next 50 years, the architects (one of whom is the man in jeans and a khaki t-shirt in the photograph above) deliberately designed the building to allow for expansion on one side. The architects also listened to staff and designed the building with archival needs and workflows in mind. As a result, my Arizona colleagues have a building that is not only attractive but highly functional. I'm glad for them -- and just a bit envious.

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