For almost 30 years, the Baylor Collections of Political Materials (BCPM) has sought to collect historical materials so future generations might have the opportunity to learn about the past from the past. In an effort to ensure the preservation of these items, plans are underway to construct a special collections room to house them securely while allowing access to those who wish to study and research them.
The room, which is to be built in the W.R. Poage Reading Room, will be called the “Glass Vault” and will securely store numerous rare books and special needs items currently located in Poage Library. The initial planning was referred to as the “Blue Tape Project” because of the blue painter’s tape used to demonstrate the layout of the room.
Construction of the glass wall and installation of the granite floor is scheduled to begin in Feb. The plans also include shelving for up to 3,000 books, but funds are still needed in order to purchase these units.
The Standing Committee supports the library by providing funds for special projects. Fowler West, acting chairman of the Standing Committee, hopes that others will join the committee so that these resources can be secured and the project will be finished.
“The Standing Committee is not just a once-a-year minor fundraiser. We are a hands-on group that is dedicated to help bring history to anyone interested in history,” West said. “Our committee is working on a project that goes to the heart of our library and its resources. What more important mission could we have? “
West believes the Glass Vault will also “attract other valuable materials to our collection.”
“Potential donors of papers and artifacts want to be satisfied their donations will be preserved for the researchers and students for generations to come,” West said. “I envision the Poage Library and its related collections will be known as a place where treasures of the past are available to all who visit.”
One such donor is former Texas Supreme Court justice Jack Hightower. He is donating his collection of over 2,500 books, some signed by former U.S. presidents, and hopes “that they will be used by the public—especially students working on their master’s or higher degrees who will have access to these historical works.”
“I am delighted with the design (of the room). I think it will be a real credit to the library,” Hightower said. “A high standard was set with the Armstrong Browning Library, and the room will continue the tradition of excellence found at all Baylor special collections.”
Anyone interested in joining the Standing Committee or contributing funds to help complete the project is welcome to contact Ben Rogers, director of BCPM, at 254-710-3540 or e-mail him at Ben_Rogers@baylor.edu. Friends of Jack Hightower might consider contributing to the project in honor of his 80th birthday in Sept.