May 19, 2022

University of Michigan Board of Regents Approve $16.8 Million Renovation of Clements Library

From the U. of Michigan News Service:

The University of Michigan Board of Regents approved today a major renovation project to the William L. Clements Library. The renovation project is funded in large part by a $6 million donation from the Avenir Foundation.

The Clements Library is one of the country’s preeminent repositories of historical Americana — books, graphic/photo materials, maps and manuscripts — from Christopher Columbus through the 19th century. The Avenir Foundation’s gift, which is one of the largest given to the library in its 90-year history, will be used to pay for improvements to the building’s infrastructure and expansion of its collections space.


The donation is a vital contribution in paying for the total $16.8-million construction cost at the library. The balance of the total comes from $800,000 donated by members of the Clements Library Associates Board of Governors, and $10 million assigned from the University of Michigan. Design is expected to begin immediately; construction is set to follow in early 2014 and will be completed in about 18 months. There are plans to make resources and materials available in an offsite location during construction.


The Clements Library was designed by noted architect Albert Kahn and built in 1923. The U-M Board of Regents approved today SmithGroupJJR as the architectural firm to design the renovation project. Planned improvements will be made to the library’s electrical, water, security and air conditioning systems. In addition, plans call for preserving the building’s exterior and interior, including such features as the paneling, plaster walls and ornately customized woodwork. A specific construction schedule will be submitted pending the approval of schematic designs to be presented early next year.

Other planned improvements to the library include a restored entrance, state-of-the-art fire suppression system and increased seating capacity. An underground, 8,500-square-foot annex will be built to expand storage for the Clements’ collection, which includes 60,000 books and pamphlets, 1,500-cubic feet of manuscripts, 50,000 maps, 100,000 photographic and printed images and 1,500 bound volumes of pre-Civil War newspapers.

Read the Complete Announcement

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.