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University Archives & Special Collections Construction Complete

Construction of a new 5,900 sq. ft. University Archives and Special Collections space in Cowles Library was completed in mid-September. The area includes 1,500 sq. ft. of office and work space and 4,400 sq. ft. of climate controlled collections space. In addition to the rapidly growing University Archives, a number of political collections — including the papers of Senator Tom Harkin — will be housed in the space. In a final configuration, the space could hold nearly 16 million documents or 120,000 bound volumes.

In addition to housing collections, digitizing print materials for online access is a major program component at Cowles Library. In the past, we’ve digitized Drake yearbooks, student newspapers and a variety of materials relating to the history and traditions of Drake University.
Extensive digitization of the new political collections, including the Harkin papers, is anticipated. In a partnership with the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs announced last July, the unit will undertake a project to digitize and make available the papers of Governor Robert D. Ray.

Picture of the reading area.

A researcher’s reading area allows primary source access to rare and unique materials.

Picture of the storage area

The Library’s first archival-quality
storage space holds collections at a constant 68 F and 50% humidity to maximize the life of fragile print materials.