ROCK HILL, S.C. - Already a popular attraction, the Louise Pettus Archives and Special Collections will showcase its many holdings in a new home on Cherry Road in what was the old Bookworm building.
Researchers, scholars, genealogists and others are expected to flock to the archives to pore over its contents, which number more than six million items, according to Mark Herring, dean of library services for Dacus Library. The archives recently moved from the basement of Dacus Library and will open in the new location on Jan. 2.
Some of the most popular draws will be a 5,000-year-old cuneiform collection, a letter from George Washington, the papers of “Lost Generation” writer Nathan Asch and world-famous children’s book author Matt Christopher, the prolific South Carolina Women’s History collections, and, of course, the numerous rare books, or books published before 1800.
Nearly three times as much space
Whereas the Pettus Archives items were previously stored in nearly a dozen spaces around the library, the new location will allow for more than twice as much space. It expands the archives display area, for both temporary and permanent collections, as well as provides space for audio-visual and digital collections and preservation. The area for researchers also has been expanded and much improved.
The Archives covered just over 6,000 square feet in Dacus Library which included collection storage space, research area/reading room, exhibit space and work space. The new location will have approximately 17,000 square feet: 8,000 square feet of collection storage space, 3,500 square feet of exhibit and research area/reading room space, and 5,000 square feet of work, lab, and office space.
The staff will increase from two archivists to five full-time and one part-time staff. Hours at the current location in the library are generally 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Monday through Friday but are often closed when archives staff are giving talks, presentations, or setting up and/or taking down exhibits on campus. In the new location, the Pettus Archives will eventually be open longer hours to include at least one week night and one weekend per month. These hours will be phased in as the staff settles into its new location.
Patrons will need to make arrangements to use the collections ahead of time. Simply give the Archives a call at 803/323-2334 to let them know you would like to use the collections. There is an intercom system for non-Winthrop researchers to obtain entry to the building. Winthrop researchers will simply need to swipe their ID to enter the building. This system is in place to ensure the safety of the researchers and staff of the Archives which will now be located on a very busy corner on Cherry Road.
The Archives also has a feature on their website called “Ask An Archivist.” Last year the Archives answered nearly 4,000 questions and anticipate an increase once the move is complete. Many Archives researchers locate its materials via the UNESCO web portal and of course through the Archives web site via the University’s own Internet connection.
New archival quality systems
In order to ensure the long-term preservation of these historical documents and artifacts, the heating ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) systems in the storage and work areas in the new building were replaced with new archival quality systems designed to manage temperatures and humidity for maximum preservation protection.
Freeing up the archives’ space in Dacus Library will allow library services to upgrade the more than 40-year-old building in accordance with students’ study wishes. Changes will include 24-hour access, group and individual study areas, techno-booths, a cafe´ and updated technology. These changes are scheduled to begin in late 2011 and continue through summer 2012.
For more information, contact Herring at 803/323-2232 or firstname.lastname@example.org.