In commemoration of the 50th anniversary of its L. Tom Perry Special Collections, Brigham Young University’s Harold B. Lee Library is celebrating the past and looking to the future of BYU through its new exhibit, “Designing BYU: Planning, Architecture, Landscape, 1875-2007.”
Housed on the first floor of the library, the exhibit is available Mondays through Thursdays from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., Fridays from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. The library is closed on Sundays.
A public anniversary celebration will be held Wednesday, Oct. 17, at 7 p.m. in the library auditorium on the first floor.
The exhibit includes a large-scale model of the BYU campus that was originally used by BYU’s Physical Facilities division for planning new university buildings. In preparation for the exhibit, the model was updated to include the latest additions to the university campus. Guests can even get a glimpse into the future of the BYU campus — the model includes the N. Eldon Tanner Building expansion and the adjacent parking garage, which are currently under construction.
“The library has grown to expect interesting exhibits from Special Collections, but the model of campus is literally stopping traffic,” said Roger Layton, the library’s communications manager. “It’s great to walk by it and see a family with three generations of library visitors leaning over and pointing out locations. It looks like the ‘Designing BYU’ exhibit will be one of those rare events with something to interest everyone.”
At its founding in 1957, Special Collections had one curator, 1,000 books and 50 manuscript collections. Today, the department employs 14 full-time curators and manuscript processors assisted by 30 students who work with 300,000 rare books, 8,000 manuscript collections and more than one million photographs.
“These unique, valuable and fragile materials are given great care to protect them from damage or theft and to ensure their proper long-term use,” said Layton.
Special Collections allows all students the opportunity to research the vast collection of primary sources in its holdings in their original or digital forms. Patrons outside of BYU, including researchers from other universities, are also invited to visit and do research.
The Special Collections area is just one part of the extensive collection housed in the Harold B. Lee Library. The library has about 98 miles of shelving, seats 4,600 people at capacity and measures the equivalent of two and a-half football fields from north to south. With more than 10,000 patrons entering the building each day, the library has grown significantly from its beginnings as a small collection kept in the office of Karl G. Maeser during his time as principal of Brigham Young Academy.
The tremendous growth of the library and its collections are fundamental to the mission of the university. As President Gordon B. Hinckley, president of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and chair of the BYU Board of Trustees, stated at the dedication of the library’s newest addition, “Of all the wonderful buildings that we have on this campus, none, I believe, is as important as the library. A library is the very heart and substance of a university. Without access of vast quantities of information, neither faculty nor student can do an accurate job. It is the foundation of research. It is the source of information, both old and new. It is a place for the ever-present challenge to dig for knowledge beyond that which is given in the classroom.”
For more information, contact Roger Layton at (801) 422-6687.
Writer: Marissa Ballantyne