HOOD COLLEGE ARCHIVES

Case Study - FREDERICK, MARYLAND

L ibraries often serve as de facto archives for their communities, accumulating art, memorabilia, and other artifacts that become the library's special collections.

Allocating space for special collections during a library renovation allowed faculty and staff at Hood College to better protect

the institution’s history.

Like many colleges and universities, Hood College has a rich history and holds precious memories for students, faculty, and staff. Unfortunately, though, the institution lacked a centralized and accessible place to store the physical objects associated with those historic events and everyday campus life.

Because the existing archives storage area was too small to store the growing collections, objects were stored where staff could find space. "This meant artifacts were often stored in attics or closets where they couldn't be enjoyed
by library users,” said Mary Atwell, Archivist and Collection Development Services Librarian.

THE CHALLENGE
An ever-growing collection

“We outgrew the designated space.”
Toby Peterson | Library Director

When the college received funding to renovate the library’s interior, Atwell and Peterson recognized an opportunity to advocate for dedicated storage space for special collections and a secure workroom for supporting student interns' experiential learning. 

"I was hopeful for a dedicated archive where we could consolidate collections into a more functional space," Atwell said.

“Academic libraries can have overlap in their collections, but a
library's special collections are often what makes it truly unique.”

Mary Atwell, Archivist and Collection Development Services Librarian

THE SOLUTION
Complete solutions for collections storage

The Baltimore-based Spacesaver consultant visited the library to look at the space and learn more about the collections. “She had knowledge of libraries and archives and she took the time to listen to our needs,” Peterson said. “She measured our collections, toured our space, and quickly presented a plan to address our current preservation needs while allowing for future growth.”
Together they designed a workroom and a collections storage area that protects materials, provides convenient access to stored items, and offers room for the collection to grow as time goes by.

“The quality of Spacesaver’s product is only outdone by the quality of their people.”
Toby Peterson | Library Director

In the workroom, 
counter-height
4-Post shelving
and overhead
cantilever shelving
provides space for
students, staff, and
faculty to process
and work with
collections.

The archives and special collections
are consolidated in one location.

NANTUCKET DRAWERS AND TRAYS
A PLACE FOR EVERYTHING.

To fully optimize space, the planning team chose to have
Spacesaver’s museum trays installed in shelving units. This solution is called the Nantucket system, and it’s a cost-effective way to store items that don’t need to be enclosed in a sealed cabinet.
It also provides customizable and reconfigurable space for 3-D object storage above the trays.

THE RESULT
Efficient collections storage and a new work area

Now the college has plenty of room to preserve and protect items in the collection. Student interns can even gain hands-on experience in processing items and performing other archival tasks, and the archive can now support engaging classes with materials from the library's special collections. 
Spacesaver’s in-person design assistance and ability to manufacture a wide variety of collections storage equipment was key to the project’s success, Peterson said. “We’ve been a customer of Spacesaver for many years, so we already knew the product was excellent,” he said. “We really wanted to deal with a company that would stand behind their product, and the local consultants were outstanding.”

Framed art and plaques are stored on 4-Post shelving fitted with dividers.

Every year, the graduating class presents a banner to the college. The banners are stored on Spacesaver’s rolled textile racks.

Connect with the experts in special collections storage

As your collections grow, we can help preserve and protect all the items in your care. Contact us to get connected to your nearby Spacesaver museum consultant, who can offer space-planning assistance, detailed product information, and answers to all your questions. There’s no cost and no obligation, so contact us today.

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