“Libraries are strong symbols of our democratic society,” Hollings said. “They are places where any of us can go to read, to learn, to research, to expand our knowledge and to improve ourselves. This beautiful new facility will promote those noble endeavors, as well as protect and preserve our history, and it has been my distinct honor and privilege to have been associated with its establishment.”
The green design of the Hollings Library is as important as the treasures it contains within its walls. The library was built to LEED (Leadership in energy and Environmental Design) Gold standards.
The main level features a comfortable, classic yet contemporary environment that is bathed in natural light and surrounded by warm wood surfaces. Library staff members in the floors beneath work in spacious, specially designed areas with vaults and stacks perfectly controlled for temperature and humidity. Low-VOC (volatile organic compound) paint, finishes and furnishings and specially designed lighting provide the optimal environment for the preservation of materials and health of visitors and staff.
“Space limitations in our previous home threatened to constrain our collecting and preservation efforts,” McNally said. “That’s no longer the case. The Hollings Library provides significant space for our archivists to work and for us to seek out and acquire new collections. The temperature and humidity controls on our stack floor, where all our unique materials are stored, provide a near-perfect environment ensuring our materials will be preserved for generations to come.”
Several dozen 20 foot tall stacks run along tracks that, with a push of a button, can compress for optimal storage. The stacks provide 47,000 linear feet, or about nine miles of storage, for materials. That translates to up to 250,000 volumes of books and approximately 20 million manuscripts, folios, maps and political and literary papers and hung political memorabilia, posters and paintings.