July 7, 2009 Library of Congress Celebrates Opening of Modules 3 and 4 and Cold-Storage Rooms at Ft. Meade Facility

Press Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

Librarian of Congress James H. Billington, in a ribbon-cutting ceremony today with acting Architect of the Capitol Stephen Ayers, celebrated the completion of Modules 3 and 4 and four cold-storage rooms at the Library’s Ft. Meade high-density storage facility in Maryland.

The new units will accommodate approximately 33 million items from the Library’s special collections, including maps, globes, manuscripts, prints and photographs, sheet music and microfilm. The newly completed construction also includes a new processing area, a quarantine room, a loading dock and mechanical spaces.

The storage units offer state-of-the-art environmental controls that will extend the lives of collection items for decades. Modules 3 and 4 join Module 1, completed in 2002, and Module 2, completed in 2005. Together, the earlier-built modules store 4 million books and bound periodicals.

Billington, who initiated the planning for more storage space soon after he became Librarian of Congress in 1987, said “The Library of Congress serves as the national library for the United States, and as a guardian of this nation’s patrimony. Therefore, having two more well-designed modules, as well as four cold-storage rooms to safeguard and preserve our collections, is essential.”

The new storage units were completed on schedule, taking 28 months to build, and within budget. Congress had appropriated $40.7 million for the project. The Architect of the Capitol supervised the project, and the Baltimore District of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers was responsible for administering the construction contract and overseeing construction management. The design firm was Einhorn, Yaffee and Prescott, and the primary contractor was the John C. Grimberg Company.

Similar to Modules 1 and 2, Modules 3 and 4 have been designed to maximize available storage capacity. Items from the collections will be shelved by size in boxes developed to accommodate them. There are 22,803 high-bay shelves in Modules 3 and 4 and 12,798 shelves in the four cold-storage rooms. Maps will be stored in 13,680 full-size map case drawers.

Materials stored at Ft. Meade will continue to be accessible to readers, with twice-daily deliveries from the off-site storage facility to the Library’s campus on Capitol Hill. Individual items and storage boxes at Ft. Meade will carry barcodes and will be retrieved via the Library’s computerized Integrated Library System (ILS) and special warehouse tracking software.

Steven J. Herman, chief of the Collections Access, Loan and Management Division, who manages the collections at the facility, said “The Ft. Meade facility has proven to be a great success on every level: preservation, security, inventory control and service. Since the opening of Module 1 on Nov. 18, 2002, more than 80,000 requests have been received for items stored at Ft. Meade, and the retrieval success rate remains at 100 percent.”

The Library’s master plan for the Ft. Meade facility calls for the construction of 13 modules by 2027, subject to the growing needs of the Library.


PR 09-139
ISSN 0731-3527