The University Libraries will relocate their special collections from Waldo Library to the Zhang Legacy Collections Center on Oakland Drive. The collections include over 41,000 items—from pop-up children's books to centuries-old medieval manuscripts. The move is expected to be completed in September.
Relocating these collections became a pressing concern due to mechanical issues in the former rare books room's ventilation system. Irregular humidity and temperature levels may cause deterioration of delicate materials and are not conducive to the preservation of rare items.
"Temperature and humidity control are vital to keeping our collections stable for use in teaching and research," said Dr. Sue Steuer, special collections librarian." The Zhang facility has the best environmental controls for the preservation of our materials, and much of our work aligns closely with that of the curators of the collections held there. We will have the opportunity to learn a lot from each other."
The Zhang Legacy Collections Center houses the WMU archives and Libraries' regional history collection, which also requires specialized conditions for preservation. The Libraries began moving the special collections in late spring when temperature and humidity levels made it safe to transport items between locations.
"While it is difficult to move away from Waldo Library in the heart of the campus, we look forward to the opportunity to work closely with the regional history collection and WMU archives, particularly because we have so many potential projects which will be enhanced where the collections complement each other," said Steuer.
Visitors may access the WMU archives and regional history and special collections by appointment until walk-in hours begin on Sept. 1. Researchers are encouraged to contact Zhang to plan their visits so materials can be prepared before their arrival.
Make an appointment and learn more about visiting the Zhang Legacy Collections Center at wmich.edu/library/visit/zhang.