Library DrawingThe CONNector

NOVEMBER 2000Volume 2 Number 4

The State Librarian's Column

Kendall WigginsKendall F. Wiggin
Connecticut State Librarian

This year marks the 90th anniversary of the Connecticut State Library and Supreme Court building. The construction of the State Library Building represented a significant investment by the people of Connecticut and it was a major milestone in the development of the State Library. The stately Beaux Arts style building made possible an expansion of the program of services to include collections in state history and political science, genealogical materials, Archives and public records, and Museum services. By the 1950's the State Library had outgrown the facility. The Report of the Temporary Commission in 1955 included a number of recommendations to address the growing inadequacies of the building and long term space needs. It would be another thirteen years until the next addition to the State Library.

Now as we approach the 150th anniversary of the organization of the State Library in 1854 and the Centennial of the State Library building it is again time to take action. In the intervening years the collections have continued to grow and now number over 5 million items. No longer able to house many collections within the confines of the State Library building, we will begin moving collections to a remote shelving facility early next year. Clearly this is an interim step while a longer-term solution is found.

While the scope of resources available in electronic format and over the Internet expands, the need for space to accommodate the growing number of computer workstations in the library escalates. In 1991 a comprehensive facilities plan was completed for the State Library. This September we received an update to that plan with projected space requirements for the next 20 years and an accounting of the present building's deficiencies and code violations. The consultants have suggested several building options, but deciding just what course to take will take additional planning and much soul searching over the next year. The decision that is made will have a profound impact on the future of the State Library. Over the past several years Connecticut has invested in its University, colleges and local schools. The time seems right to invest in our State Library, the most significant repository of primary source material on the history of Connecticut. Such an investment will pay great dividends for generations to come.

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