November 7, 2002 FACT SHEETLibrary of Congress High Density Storage FacilityFt. Meade, Maryland

Contact: Helen Dalrymple (202) 707-1940

Site, Schedule, Configuration, and Size

Facility is being constructed on a 100-acre site at Ft. George G. Meade in Anne Arundel County, Md., given to the Architect of the Capitol by the U. S. Army.

  • Phase 1 consists of a remote Book Storage Facility for the Library of Congress (Storage Module 1 - SM1), as well as an Office Module, Loading Docks, Mechanical Rooms, Vestibule and Circulation Corridors.
  • Phase 1 consultants:
    Dewberry Design Group - Associate Architect
    Setty & Associates - Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing Engineers
  • Phase 1 General Contractor: PEI Construction
  • Subsequent phases will consist of adding up to 13 additional storage modules, as well as increased dock and processing area capacity. Incorporated into the planning for future modules will be cold storage vaults for material requiring temperatures below 50 degrees.
  • Storage Module 1 (SM1), along with the loading dock, processing and staff areas will begin operation on Nov. 18, 2002
  • SM1 has an 8,500 square foot footprint and a height of approximately 40 feet; the Office Module will be 6,300 square feet; and the Loading Docks, Mechanical Rooms, Vestibule, and Circulation Corridor will total 10,000 square feet.
  • Construction cost is approximately $4,700,000.
  • Architect of the Capitol Staff:
    Bruce Arthur, Project Director
    John Danielson, Project Construction Manager
  • This is the first major new building constructed for the Library of Congress in more than two decades.
  • It is the first high density book storage module for the Library of Congress
  • The development of the Ft. Meade site represents major steps in the Library's long-range plan to vacate rental space at locations such as Landover, Md., Suitland, Md., and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

Contents, Environment, and Storage Method

  • SM1 will house only paper-based material-books and bound periodicals.
  • SM1 has been designed to maximize the available storage capacity. Items will be shelved by size in boxes developed to accommodate that specific size item.
  • Shelving will be industrial shelving, approximately 30 feet high, and 36 inches deep. Thus boxes that are 18 inches deep can be double shelved on a 36 inch deep shelf.
  • Using this configuration, the Library anticipates that approximately 1.4 million items will eventually be accommodated in SM1.
  • The Library's Conservation Division, in close collaboration with the Office of the Architect of the Capitol and the project designer, has developed a plan to ensure that SM1 features an excellent environment for paper-based collections. The module will be maintained at a constant temperature of 50 degrees Fahrenheit, 30 percent relative humidity year-round.
  • Consultants to the Library for materials handling and environmental concerns are:
    Reese Dill, Dill and Company
    William Lull, Garrison/Lull, Inc.

Filling SM1 and Areas of the Collection Scheduled for Transfer

  • Because of severe crowding of collections on Capitol Hill, an accelerated program to transfer items to the facility will be undertaken. The Library anticipates that 2,500 items daily will be transferred during a period lasting approximately 30 months.
  • Collections that will be transferred to SM1 are those less frequently used. These include: portions of agriculture, medicine, and literature collections as well as portions of the collections in the custody of the Law Library, and the Asian, and African & Middle Eastern Divisions will be transferred.


  • The site was chosen to ensure good access to the items stored at the facility. Twice-daily delivery from SM1 to Capitol Hill is anticipated. Requests received in the morning can be delivered that afternoon; requests received in the afternoon can be delivered the next business morning. However, this will be operated as a storage facility only. There will be no public reading room at the facility.
  • To support responsive service, technician-level reference service will be provided. This will include looking up and verifying citations, photocopying, and faxing information from the facility to the requesting unit on Capitol Hill.
  • The newly acquired Integrated Library System (the LC ILS) will enable a Congressional staff member, researcher or Library staff member to determine immediately whether the item they need is at Ft. Meade. The record for that title in the LC ILS will clearly state where the item is located. This represents a major advance in the Library's ability to serve researchers. Prior to the acquisition of this system, users of our databases would be unable to readily determine the precise location of an item.

Revised November 6, 2002


PR 02-164
ISSN 0731-3527