The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is preparing to open the doors of a new, state- of –the-art Church History Library in downtown Salt Lake City on June 22. The building, located on the corner of North Temple and Main Street (directly east of the Conference Center) will be the new home of the Church archives, relocating from its old location in the east wing of the Church Office Building.
The new building will provide public access to visitors seeking to view historical items and documents compiled throughout the last 179 years of the Church’s history. Unique to the new building is its “green” architecture. According to the LDS Newsroom, the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) has awarded the Church with the “prestigious Silver designation,” given to organizations whose buildings have met high environmental quality standards, such as having “greater access to outside views… [being] in close proximity to public transportation, [using] products that are locally produced… or that give off fewer gasses that may affect people’s health.”
This award has come in the wake of a recent meeting held between Church leaders and former Vice President Al Gore, held in April of this year. Gore requested the half-hour meeting to discuss the affects of climate change, though the Church has not currently taken a stance with Gore’s theories.
The Church has stated that the five-story, 230,000 square building will be the home of records including:
“240,000 collections of original, unpublished records (journals, diaries, correspondence, minutes, etc.)”
“3.5 million patriarchal blessings for Church members”
“13,000 collections of photographs”
“23,000 audiovisual items”
Visitors to the new library will also have access to over 270,000 books, pamphlets, magazines and newspapers including archived issues of BYU-Idaho’s “The Scroll.” Brent Thompson, director of Records Preservation for the Church History Department commented:
“The space we currently occy wasn’t designed as an archival storage space. It doesn’t have fire protection; it doesn’t have seismic protection; and it doesn’t have adequate temperature, humidity, and air quality control. We have also outgrown the space, both from a staff perspective and more importantly, from a records perspective. The new building will provide solutions to these problems.”
Included in the new building’s design are climate-controlled rooms set at temperature and humidity levels appropriate in preserving old documents for generations to come. Secure reading rooms will provide visitors with a comfortable environment that is -to-date and easily accessible to archived documents and artifacts.
The building will allow visitors a welcoming opportunity to learn about Church history from full-time missionaries who will be provided to aid in research, as well as in sharing the restored gospel.