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Representatives from the Tennessee State Library and Archives (TSLA) are asking citizens to urge legislators to support a $92 million construction project in this year’s state budget that would see the aging and over-full archives building in downtown Nashville replaced.

Since 1853, the TSLA has archived all important historical and legal documents for the State of Tennessee; but now the 63-year-old archive building on Seventh Avenue has run out of room.

“It’s completely full,” said State Librarian and Archivist Charles Sherrill.


Proper humidity level for house “We have eight floors of document storage and they are loaded to the max.”

TSLA is the official repository of state government records, including all actions taken by the General Assembly during each legislative session. Proper humidity level in a house And in addition to the legislative and gubernatorial records, the library receives new documents of historical importance each day from sources across the state. Proper humidity level in home Its collection includes backup records from the state’s 95 counties and microfilm copies of all the state’s newspapers.

The original handwritten 1858 bill that incorporated the town of Tullahoma is housed at the State Li-brary and Archives on Seventh Avenue in Nashville. Proper humidity level in home for summer That building that has now run out of room for the documents it must, by law, accept and maintain – and new documents arrive every day from the state’s 95 counties. Proper humidity level in home in winter Representatives of the library are asking citizens to urge their legislators to support fund-ing a new $92 million archival building on the Bicentennial Mall to preserve the state’s history.

“We house all of the historical records of the state, including copies of all of the records from Coffee and Franklin counties and every county in the state,” said Sherrill. Proper humidity level in house “That includes your wills and deeds and marriages and court minutes, as well as newspapers and manuscript collections.”

“We don’t have the luxury of saying ‘No, we’re out of space, don’t send us those records,’” said Blake Fontenay, a spokesman for Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett’s office. Proper humidity level in house canada “We’re the custodians of certain state records and we don’t really have any choice about whether we continue to collect them. Proper humidity levels for a home We’ve got to put them somewhere.”

For example, if off-site warehouse space was leased from a third-party vendor to store new records as they come in, those records would be less secure and more difficult to access. Proper indoor humidity level in winter Not only would access to the general public be delayed, but pulling the documents from rented storage for viewing would also involve additional fees. Recommended humidity level for home in winter This, Fontenay said, could quickly become prohibitively expensive for anyone conducting extensive research.

“I’ve been a librarian for 30-some years in Tennessee,” said Sherrill. Recommended humidity level for home uk “I firmly believe that free and open access to government information is central to maintaining our democracy. Recommended humidity level in a house And these records of the state – showing ‘what did the governor do?’ or ‘what did the legislature do?’ – it’s very important that we maintain them, preserve them, and make it easy to access so that people can get reliable thorough information.”

Digitizing state documents would also be a problem, Fontenay said. Recommended humidity level in home Technology changes so quickly that digital record-keeping systems rapidly become obsolete. Recommended humidity level in home canada As a result, digital formats are not ideal for documents that are meant to be accessible forever. Recommended humidity level in home during summer When, he asked, did you last use a floppy disk?

“We are digitizing material that we have on our website for access, but digital records degrade fairly quickly,” said Fontenay, adding data vulnerability to the list of digital concerns. Recommended humidity level in home during winter “The files can be corrupted and if that’s your only record, then it’s gone.”

Additionally, he said, physical documents have a value of their own. Recommended humidity level in home during winter canada “You wouldn’t just want to scan the original Articles of Incorporation and then put them in a shredder,” he said, referring to the handwritten 1858 bill that created Tullahoma.

Even if digitizing records were practical and permitted, Fontenay said, the cost of converting paper documents to digital formats would be at least five times more expensive than building a new library to house those documents.

“What we have proposed, and what we are hoping to get money for,” said Sherrill, “is a new State Library and Archives building on the Bicentennial Mall in Nashville — just about a mile from our current location — that would provide us with the kinds of things we need: first of all, more space for storage, but more importantly, easy access for the public and space to work with children and school groups and other visitors.”

“At that time, it was said to be the next project for the state building commission,” said Sherrill. Recommended humidity level in home in winter Then, he said, the recession took hold and the project was stalled. Recommended humidity level in home summer Since then, “We’ve been gradually working our way back to the number-one position and we feel to put it in the state budget we need people to tell their legislators that it’s important to them.”

The architectural plans for the new 165,000-square-foot state-of-the-art archival building go back even further. Recommended humidity level in home winter The current plans, first developed in 2006, have been updated and downscaled over the last decade to, according to Hargett, “ensure the best utilization of space and capital resources.”

“We saved quite a lot of money and square footage by planning a robotic retrieval system,” said Sherrill. Recommended humidity level in house With robotic storage and retrieval, materials in the new building can be stacked 40 feet high in metal bins and still accessed easily.

The design plans are “shovel ready” and land for the building has already been secured on the Bicentennial Mall, near the future site of the new $160 million Tennessee State Museum. Recommended humidity level in house during winter Even the library’s new parking garage is fully funded, thanks to a $500,000 commitment from Metro Nashville. Recommended humidity levels for home summer But the $92 million needed to build the library itself has yet to be added to the state budget. Relative humidity in a home And for each year the project is delayed, the price goes up.

“It’s an expensive project but it’s not unprecedented,” said Fontenay, comparing the construction cost to building additions at state universities or the construction of the new State Museum. Relative humidity in the home uk “It’s not an everyday expense, but it’s not unprecedented either.

“We have a legal and a moral obligation to make sure those records are stored properly and made as accessible as possible today and for future generations,” said Hargett, who has campaigned for more than seven years to see the project funded.

“What we’re looking for is House and Senate and gubernatorial approval,” said Sherrill. Relative humidity levels in a home “The last two years we’ve gotten Senate approval but we’re still working to get House approval.”

The archive, Sherrill said, is “one of those places that you don’t really know about until you need it, but when you need it, it’s really important.”

Contact information for legislators serving Tullahoma – Rep. Suggested humidity level in house Judd Matheny and Sen. What are normal humidity levels in a home Janice Bowling – can be found on the state General Assembly’s website at www.legislature.state.tn.us.