The newly renovated archives reading room reopened on March 31, with seats for sixteen more researchers--and their laptops and cameras. It can now hold fifty-five researchers: forty of those working with paper-based collections, eight computer workstations for those using digital collections, six microfilm readers, and a DVD viewing station. More computer workstations and microfilm readers may be added in the future.
In this first renovation since the reading room opened in 1978, the area was expanded by demolishing the typing room, the glassed-off area where, in a time before computers, researchers’ using noisy typewriters sat to reduce disruption in the main room. The electrical system has been upgraded, and new tables with built-in electrical outlets accommodate laptops and other common research tools. Multiple cameras enhance the security of collection materials; new lockers, carpeting, and paint brighten the space.
Renovation was essential to keep pace with the growing numbers of researchers’ using our collections. In 1978 a few hundred researchers visited the reading room; last year nearly seventeen hundred researchers came to the archives in person, availing themselves of more than 25,000 manuscript boxes. Some of that increase is due to our constantly acquiring more archival collections, now numbering more than six thousand; it is also fueled by detailed finding aids on the Internet, discoverable by anyone using a search engine such as Google.
The archives reading room is located in the basement of the Herbert Hoover Memorial Building on Stanford’s main campus. We’re open Monday through Friday from 8:15 to 4:45.