April 7, 2004  
Volume 97, Issue 99  

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Western opens its ARC — Indiana Jones proud

By Marshall Bellamy
Gazette Staff
Matt Prince/Gazette
I WONDER IF THEY HAVE ISSUES OF PLAYBOY FROM THE ’50S. Stacks and stacks of books and stuff and things adorn the Archives and Research Collections Centre at D.B. Weldon Library — the archives opened yesterday.

The new Archives and Research Collections Centre at Western officially opened yesterday morning, allowing students and faculty access to a wide variety of old materials.

“The heart of a great university like Western is very much in its libraries,” said Western President Paul Davenport, noting Western’s archives offer a range a materials, from Canadian Tire’s corporate archives to a 1668 edition of John Milton’s Paradise Lost, purported to be a personal copy of the author.

According to Robin Keirstead, the university’s archivist, the completion of the archives will allow the other Western libraries to move their low and medium-use materials to a central location. “It was all scattered before — this is it, this is the hub,” he said.

“We now have the environment to preserve the materials in a way we couldn’t,” he explained, adding the storage facility is a controlled environment in which temperature and relative humidity can be controlled to protect the archives.

“We’ll have better access and better work space,” Keirstead said.

The storage facility has nine shelves — 100 feet long and 30 feet high — for storing approximately 1.6 million volumes or 80,000 cubic foot storage boxes.

Keirstead noted the archives will be able to store materials for approximately 15 to 20 years until it is filled to capacity. “But it’s just a very, very, very rough estimate.”

The entrance to the archives from the D.B. Weldon Library contains the new John A. Schweitzer Gallery, which will feature art by Schweitzer, various guest exhibitions and material from the archives.

Matt Prince/Gazette
A REALLY COOL PICTURE. The Archives and Research Collections Centre in D.B. Weldon Library opened yesterday with much fanfare.

“The gallery juxtaposes my work by linking text and work,” Schweitzer said. “Western will become a singular study centre of my oeuvre, all in this glorious facility.”

“The archives have been in the dreaming, planning and building stages for many, many years,” said university librarian Joyce Garnett, adding the archives will provide a service for staff to efficiently serve the needs of students and faculty.

She added the transfer of material from libraries across campus to the archives has also helped free up space in the libraries for other uses, such as the creation of 700 new student study spaces.

“It was a long road Joyce went down; this was in the works off and on for a long time,” Davenport said.



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