The Tennessee State Library and Archives houses approximately 1,139,070 items and is home to original legislative, Secretary of State, Supreme Court and governor’s records and manuscripts. We caught up with Brooks Crowell, the Tennessee State Library and Archives facility director.
DES: The library was established in 1854 and moved to the current location in 1953. Does Metro DES supply both heating and cooling for the building? How long has the Library been on the Metro DES?
Brooks Crowell: Yes, Metro DES does supply both high-pressure steam and chilled water for TSLA, and has been doing so since the early 1970s
DES: What benefits do you see with the building being on the Metro DES?
Brooks Crowell: The historic collection storage areas in this facility require us to maintain constant temperatures and humidity levels based on the medium being stored. We depend on Metro DES to help us maintain these critical temperature/humidity levels. We are in close communication with NDES representatives to assure that our steam, condensate return, and chilled-water systems and equipment are maintained properly, working together on projects where the state shares responsibility with Metro in maintaining these systems. Also, for the safety of the collections, it is a plus that Metro DES is the power plant for this facility “off-site” with no gas-fired boilers on-site.
DES: How many pieces of work does the library host in its collection?
Brooks Crowell: Presently, TSLA’s holdings in its general and reference collections are composed of some 1,139,070 items (printed materials, microfilm, audiotapes and photographic media). TSLA also houses approximately 76,482 cubic feet of original records and manuscripts, including governor’s papers, legislative records, Secretary of State records, Supreme Court records, etc.
DES: How long have you managed the building, and what responsibilities does this include?
Brooks Crowell: Beginning in July 2000, my responsibilities include direct oversight of the maintenance and daily operations of the facility, monitoring the energy management system and making adjustments, management of support staff including security receptionists, custodians and support of special events. I also act as the on-site contact for major maintenance and SBC (State Building Commission) level projects, as well as liaison for any Metro DES projects related to NDES. I am also the safety director for this facility and for the nine regional libraries across the state.
DES: What is your favorite piece of work in the library’s collection?
Brooks Crowell: That’s a tough question. Perhaps it is the Legislative History section’s recording of Elvis Presley addressing the state legislature during a Joint Session of the House and Senate. Or, better yet, I really enjoy the original hand-drawn maps of Tennessee before the boundaries of the state were finalized. Several of these maps and other historical manuscripts and photographs can be found on the Tennessee State Library and Archive’s website.