A groundbreaking ceremony was held for a new building of the Tennessee State Library and Archives on Bicentennial Mall at the intersection of Sixth Avenue N and Jefferson Street.
The new facility will include a climate-controlled chamber for storing historic books and manuscripts, as well as a latest robotic retrieval system, classrooms for teaching students and meeting space for training librarians and archivists.
The facility will be an upgrade in capacity, preservation and public access from the current 1950s era building west of the State Capitol.
The $123.8m project, which began in 2005, received considerable amount of funding in 2017 after being included in the Governor’s budget and approved by the General Assembly.
The new building will include a conservation lab for the treatment and restoration of books, photographs and documents.
Dedicated exhibit spaces for Tennessee’s founding documents and rotating exhibits will also be established, in addition to a grand reading room with seating for 100 readers and scholars.
A vault for storing photographic negatives, an early literacy centre for children with visual disability and a recording lab to produce oral histories and audio books on Tennessee history will also be constructed.
The project is expected to be completed in 2019.
Governor Haslam said: “Tennessee has a strong and rich history and it is important to preserve our past to pass on to future generations.
“We have significantly outgrown the space that currently houses Tennessee’s most significant and historic documents and vital records, so I thank the General Assembly for working with us to make this much-needed new Library and Archives facility a reality.”
Secretary Hargett said: “The new building ensures Tennessee’s history will be preserved for generations while making it more accessible. This world-class facility will blend the necessity of historic preservation with the ever-increasing demand for digital access.”