From the University of Vermont:
Over the years, the Billings Library, the University of Vermont’s most architecturally important building, has been home to a variety of university functions, some more suited to the cathedral-like grandeur of its interior than others.
Designed by H. H. Richardson, the great 19th American architect, the building began life in 1885 as the university’s library.
In 1961, with demand for its services far exceeding Billings’ capacity, the university built a large new library and, in 1963, converted Billings’ somber interior space to an unlikely – and as time went on, lightly used – student center.
In 2007 a much-needed modern student center opened on the UVM campus, and Billings became a sublime setting for a series of mostly everyday lectures, meetings and campus events.
Thanks to a recently completed $11.4 million renovation, Billings will again house university departments whose academic import match its majestic design.
UVM Libraries’ Special Collections department took up residence in August, returning the building to its roots as a library. In September the Miller Center for Holocaust Studies, the UVM Humanities Center and the Center for Research on Vermont moved into their new offices on the fourth floor of the building.
From mid-July to mid-August, staff oversaw the transport of tens of thousands of rare books, manuscripts, maps, photographs and documents, moved via truck in carefully packed boxes and foam-lined carts from Special Collections’ former location in the basement of Bailey-Howe Library to the second floor of Billings, where temperature- and humidity-controlled stacks had been built in an area formerly occupied by a dining hall.
The new location will significantly enhance Special Collections’ contribution to the academic life of the university, said Jeff Marshall, director of the Silver Special Collections Library.
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