Year of the Library highlights special collections

An architect’s rendering of the Special Collections Reading Room, slated for the new Special Collections Research Center as part of the planned renovation of Fondren Library Center.

An architect’s rendering of the Special Collections Reading Room, slated for the new Special Collections Research Center as part of the planned renovation of Fondren Library Center.

In 2013, as part of its Second Century Celebration, SMU is commemorating the Year of the Library – celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the University’s first library, the appointment of its first librarian and the acquisition of its first special collection.

As SMU marks this historic milestone, the University will highlight several special library events and seeks new gifts to renovate library facilities, establish endowments for acquisitions and library leadership positions and expand special collections.

A significant priority to meet student needs and support the growth and preservation of special collections is the renovation of Fondren Library Center. As part of the project, SMU plans to redesign the interior of the Science Information Center and redesignate it as the Special Collections Research Center. The building, prominently located on SMU’s historic main quadrangle, will consolidate Central University Libraries special collections, including those currently housed in DeGolyer Library. Reading rooms, group and individual study areas, and new exhibit and event space will provide the environment for quiet study, as well as exploration of the libraries’ special collections. Naming opportunities for these, and other areas within Fondren Library Center, are available.

The Year of the Library commemoration had a special start with two gifts that will expand the special collections housed in the Jake and Nancy Hamon Arts Library.

A gift of personal materials from the estate of Dallas philanthropist and arts patron Nancy Hamon includes $1 million to endow, preserve and exhibit the collection. Materials include photograph albums, diaries, memorabilia, correspondence with seven U.S. presidents and materials related to Jake Hamon’s long career in the oil business.

A planned estate gift of movie archives valued at $1.5 million has been made by film historian and collector Jeff Gordon. The collection includes posters, advertising materials, memorabilia and original movie photos, primarily from the 1930s to the 1970s.

The Year of the Library also will include many special occasions throughout the year. The annual Tables of Content dinner on March 23 will feature an evening of engaging discussion with young and emerging authors and notable table hosts, and concludes with the presentation of the Literati Award, which honors an individual who has used the written word to advance the ideals of creativity, conviction, innovation and scholarship.

SMU is pleased to welcome to campus the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, part of the Bush Presidential Center, during the University’s annual Founders’ Day Weekend, April 18-20. On the afternoon of April 25, following the dedication of the Bush Presidential Center, SMU libraries and museums will host open houses welcoming our guests to view our featured exhibitions.

Also, in July 2013 a priceless piece of American presidential history will be on display in SMU’s DeGolyer Library. Jointly presented by SMU and the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum, the exhibition, Hail to the Chief: Presidential History at SMU, features President George Washington’s personal copy of the Acts of Congress, including the U.S. Constitution and a draft of the Bill of Rights with his own handwritten notations. This two-week exhibition runs from July 14–27 and will be open to the public. Look for additional details later this spring.

The Year of the Library presents an opportunity to enrich SMU’s core academic support areas as represented by our library facilities and outstanding library collections. Alumni, parents and friends are encouraged to support these events and renovation of the Fondren Library Center to ensure that SMU’s libraries remain the heart of the University.

The new Special Collections Research Center will occupy the current Science Information Center (left), located on SMU’s historic main quadrangle.

The new Special Collections Research Center will occupy the current Science Information Center (left), located on SMU’s historic main quadrangle.

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