Monthly Archives: November 2017

Behind the Scenes at AU Archives in Spring Valley

This is the third post about our new home in AU’s Spring Valley Building.

As we worked with the architects on the design for our new space, we realized we could facilitate our work through adjacencies and review of traffic patterns. Our new work area combines our digitization lab and processing space so staff are co-located and can better work together on projects. As it can be easier to sort collections while standing, our main tables are bar height. Our digitization stations are along the walls to limit disruptions. The new configuration gave us enough additional space to set up an audio-visual digitization station so we can offer a broader array of reformatting services to researchers. We can also use this extra computer for digital collections processing.


Our new work area features space for processing and digitization.


We are excited about our new storage area, which features state of the art climate control and mobile shelving. The archives stacks contains two units of mobile shelving with stationary shelves along the perimeter. The new shelving configuration features a variety of sizes of shelves that maximize our storage capacity. AU archives for the first time in many years has growth space on campus. We have many new collections in the pipeline so it will be interesting to see how fast the open space fills up. Our new HVAC system will allow us to better control seasonal fluctuation of temperature and relative humidity to protect our collections for the long haul. One nice bonus is that all of our map cabinets are now with the climate control zone.


Our new compact shelving allows us to maximize our storage space.

Our entire map collection is now in climate controlled space.

Welcome to the new Archives Reading Room

This is the second in a series of posts about our new home in AU’s Spring Valley Building (SVB).

One exciting feature in our new space is a larger reading room that can accommodate more researchers and larger classes. The desks and chairs are all on wheels so we can move them around to allow for varying configurations. With a full AV set up, we can easily host lectures and presentations. We also added a light table for viewing slides and negatives and a public workstation so researchers can search the catalog and/or view our digital collections if they do not bring their own device. As with all campus buildings, SVB offers free wifi for guests. We have a few lockers for secure storage of valuables. To facilitate access to collections from off-site storage, we set aside some space to store materials temporarily while researchers are using them.

Researcher appointments are available between 9am and 5pm  Monday through Friday. Faculty members should contact the University Archivist at least two weeks in advance of their proposed class visit.


Our new reading room

Welcome to the New AU Archives and Special Collections

This is a first in a series of posts introducing our new space.

Upon entering American University Archives and Special Collections, visitors encounter colorful displays of treasures from Special Collections. Our new entrance features motion activated lighting and temperature and humidity control. This will allow us to display a broader range of materials from our collections. We plan to change our exhibits more frequently to encourage repeat visits.


Archives and Special Collections Entrance November 2017


Our first two displays in this space feature items from the rare book collection. 19th century illustrators and American authors take center stage. The varied styles of the illustrators and the colorful book jackets vie for your attention. These items will remain on display up until winter break.


20th American Authors Display


Visitors are welcome to stop by between 9am-5pm Monday through Friday.