State Library & Archives Bursting At The Seams

Posted at 11:07 AM, Apr 07, 2017
and last updated 2017-04-07 12:08:16-04

In Nashville, history has a home at the State Library and Archives building which sits in the shadow of the Capitol but state officials are sounding the alarm, saying if they don't get funding for a new building soon the public will suffer. 

Built in 1954, the building's white stone columns and marble floors are throwbacks to an era long gone by.  

Inside though are some of the state's most important documents. It's here where the original copy of the Tennessee Constitution resides, and shelves are filled with the original papers from every governor since Tennessee became a state.

Without funding for a new building though, those documents will have to be placed elsewhere. 

"Whenever Governor Haslam leaves office we won't have space for the governor’s papers to be located over here. We’d probably have to contract out somewhere or find some facility with climate control and round the clock security," Secretary of State Tre Hargett said.

Standing in the middle of a narrow row of archived documents dating back decades, Hargett points out that mold has constantly been an issue in the aging building. Dehumidifiers have been brought in to help control the temperature of rooms where climate is crucial to the preservations of documents.

"We are at a make or break point where if we don’t do it now we have to come up with another way to store these documents," he said.

Secretary Hargett has asked state lawmakers to approve a $98 million plan which would allow the State Library and Archives to construct a new building. He is hopeful that after a decades of indecision this may finally be the year it becomes a reality. 

"I’m hoping this is the year all those things come together to make this building happen."