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Library archives continue to work quietly toward move

Paul Dunbar Library Archives | Photo by Daniel Delgado | The Wright State Guardian

Paul Dunbar Library Archives | Photo by Daniel Delgado | The Wright State Guardian


Paul Laurence Dunbar Library’s fourth floor houses a countless amount of archives and relics relevant to the Dayton area. Three years ago it was announced they would move across the street to the former Wright Patt Credit Union. However, the move has not taken place yet.

“The archives have grown in collections and in our outreach, so much that as long as ten years ago, we started talking about how we’d outgrown our current home in the library,” said Dawne Dewey, head of Special Collections and Archives.

Dunbar’s fourth floor currently houses the Special Collections and Archives Department at Wright State University.

The upgrades to come

The new location will be in the old Wright Patt Credit Union headquarters at 2455 Presidential Drive.

Renovations include floor plan modification, fire suppression upgrades, security and heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC), which is crucial in the storing of special archives and collections, according to Dewey.

“Once that is accomplished, then we can get moved over there,” said Dewey.

The Special Collections and Archives Department occupies 8,000 square feet of the fourth floor in the library as well as 4,000 in the Medical Sciences building and it is still busting at the seams.

“The primary sources and unique materials preserved in our collections will last well beyond our lifetimes if given the care and attention it needs,” said Sue Polanka, University Librarian. “We are looking forward to a renovated facility with the appropriate fire suppression system, temperature and humidity control, and security needed to guarantee this collection lives on for generations to come.”

The new location includes 30,000 square feet.

“It’s very important that we accomplish this move to a much better and larger facility where we can continue to care for these collections and make them available,” said Dewey.

Supporting the move

The move is helped to be made possible by fundraising through the Department of Advancement at WSU.

“We are in the process of personally soliciting gifts and support from individuals associated with the Archives in some way, either as a past donor, volunteer or as the one who donated a collection to the Archives,” said Interim Vice President of Advancement Bill Bigham. “We are also identifying and soliciting individuals who have an interest in local history. We are also seeking state capital funds for the project through the PDAC process.”

Over one million dollars has been raised for the project so far, according to Bigham.