The University Record, July 1, 2002

Regents approve design for Bentley

By Joanne Nesbit
News and Information Services

Architect Robert Powell of Jickling Lyman Powell Associates offered regents a view of the post-expansion Bentley Historical Library.
Established in 1935 by the Board of Regents, the Bentley Historical Library moved to its current location in 1972, a building now completely filled with historical records about the University and the state of Michigan. So full, that it has outgrown the current space and must expand in order to hold all of its historical treasures. Schematic drawings for a much needed addition to the historical library received regent approval June 20.

Work on the new 34,000-square-foot, three-level addition will begin this winter and take about 18 months. The addition will be erected directly behind the present structure, and will increase storage space for collections, as well as house new work space, offices and an improved conservation laboratory. The project is estimated to cost $5.8 million, which will be funded from central administration sources. Jickling Lyman Powell Associates is the architecture firm.

“It is just in the nature of work of the archivist to need more space,” says Francis Blouin, director of the Bentley Historical Library. “Even in the age of electronic communication, the volume of important historical records that exists only in paper form is enormous. While we work to identify only those records that have enduring value, we do need space to house them in a facility that is both environmentally controlled and physically secure so that future generations will have access to these historical records that are critically important to understanding the history of U-M and the state.”

The library comprises the Michigan Historical Collections, University Archives and Records, and Access and Reference Services. It has amassed extensive holdings dating from the era of exploration to the present. More than 30,000 linear feet of archives and manuscripts, 62,000 printed volumes, 1.5 million photographs and other visual materials, and more than 10,000 maps make up the collection.

The library’s holdings are consulted by Michigan citizens; University students, faculty, staff, alumni and administrators; scholars from around the world; and others interested in the history of the state and U-M.

The Michigan Historical Collections division collects, processes and makes available for research unpublished and published materials relating to Michigan and the activities of its citizens, and non-governmental organizations and associations.

Other holdings document the founding of the University, its growth, the expansion of educational opportunities, and the struggle to provide an intellectual foundation for a diverse and rapidly changing culture.

For more about the holdings, programs and hours of operation, log on to www.umich.edu/~bhl.