Erected a century ago, Brown Tower was never designed to provide archival-quality environmental conditions for special collections. Important renovation work was carried out over the past decade thanks to generous funding from the Lilly Endowment, but the space does not yet meet national standards for rare books. The Libraries will engage Garrison & Lull Inc., respected experts on library and archival facilities, to analyze the current situation–construction of the building, maintenance practices, and equipment used for heating, ventilating, air-conditioning, and humidity control–and to make recommendations for improvements specific to the nature of the collections' materials.
"Scientific research has shown that housing books and documents at the recommended temperature and humidity can literally prolong their existence by centuries. Our project goal is to bring the Brown Tower conditions in line with national recommendations to provide the greatest possible protection for Burke's wonderful collection of irreplaceable books and manuscripts," said Janet Gertz, Director of the Libraries' Preservation and Digital Conversion Division.