No place like home

From civil rights era footage to the Confederate Constitution, UGA’s Special Collections come together in a long-awaited new facility

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No place like home

Paul Van Wicklen accesses materials in the Russell Building’s 30,000-square-foot vault, capable of holding four million volumes or 220,000 cubic feet of archival boxes. Staff members use a motorized picker to reach items on the 30-foot-high shelves.

Photo by: Peter Frey

UGA celebrated the official opening of the new Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Libraries in February. Located on Hull Street, the $46 million, 115,000-square-foot building houses the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library, the Russell Library for Political Research and Studies, and the Walter J. Brown Media Archives and Peabody Awards Collection.

Mary Ellen Brooks, director emeritus of Hargrett and curator of rare books, arranges a display featuring a portrait of Sequoyah, part of the collection Southeastern Native American Documents, 1730-1842. This collection is part of the Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library.

Workers spent months painstakingly moving the collections from their previous quarters in the Main Library on North Campus, where they were housed in cramped spaces. Constructed around a 30,000-square-foot storage area built largely below ground level, the new building features customized climate control, integrated security, exhibit galleries, classrooms and event space as well as room for the collections to expand during the next 40 years. One third of the building’s cost was raised from private sources, along with $7 million in gifts for program endowments. UGA is gathering documentation for LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold Certification, a third-party verification that a building was designed and constructed with attention paid to sustainable site development, water savings, energy efficiency, materials selection and indoor environmental quality.

Visit our photo gallery page for more images of pieces that were placed in the Richard B. Russell Building Special Collections Library.