Brigham Young University recently announced a gift of $3 million from the ALSAM Foundation for the creation of the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library in the Harold B. Lee Library.
The special collections library wing will be named in honor of Elder L. Tom Perry, a member of the Quorum of The Twelve Apostles of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, for his lifelong commitment to education.
"This donation is an effort by the ALSAM Foundation to honor L. Tom Perry for his commitment to education and for providing an example of management and loyalty in the business arena," said Michael Miller, president of the ALSAM Foundation. "He has served in both the public and private sector and has been a shining example to everyone."
BYU President Merrill J. Bateman said that the L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library will be a fitting tribute to a man known by all for his integrity, compassion and love of learning, "It will be a center of learning, both modern in its technology and extensive in its influence, reaching far beyond the campus," said Bateman.
"As generous friends of BYU, Sam and Aline Skaggs, founders and trustees of the ALSAM Foundation, have had a lasting influence on the university and its students," said Bateman. "This gift will now memorialize the great contributions of the Skaggs and of Elder Perry."
The L. Tom Perry Special Collections Library will be among the most preeminent special collections facilities in the nation, said Sterling J. Albrecht, university librarian. Holdings in the special collections library are valued at $153 million and include 280,000 books and printed items, more than 500,000 historical photographs related to Utah and the West and more than 8,000 different manuscript collections.
The collection also contains the university's rarest and most valuable book, manuscript and photograph collections, including books documenting the Renaissance and the Reformation along with 19th-century literature and the history of Great Britain and the United States. It includes manuscripts documenting the early history of the LDS Church and early Church figures, collections relating to the history of Utah and the West and the personal and film collections of notable figures such as Cecil B. DeMille and Jimmy Stewart.
In addition, the collection supports the teaching of classes for 3,500 students each year and has patrons examining, on average, 150 books and 10 different manuscript collections each day during the academic year. Lectures are given by special collections curators for classes in English, art, design, humanities, ancient and modern languages, classical civilization, music, education, industrial education and history, using the resources available in the holdings of the special collections library.
The wing is a major part of the addition to the library currently being constructed. The collection is scheduled to open to the public in summer or fall 1999.