NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Tennessee State Library and Archives is now open to the public in their new building at 1001 Rep. John Lewis Way N. in Nashville.
The 165,000 square foot state-of-the-art Library and Archives facility’s design adds to the beauty of the Bicentennial Mall State Park, while the additional space and improved climate controls ensure that Tennessee's history is preserved and accessible for current and future generations.
“This is a beautiful space, a welcoming space. It is a place to spend an afternoon. It is so close to the Tennessee State Museum. You could see both in a day,” said Gordon Stannard, who visited the Library and Archives for the first time during their recent open house.
The Library and Archives, a division of the Department of State, collects and preserves books and records of historical, documentary and reference value, focusing on items related to Tennessee. It is also the state's foremost historical research facility and actively supports library and archival development throughout Tennessee.
“This is one of the best state libraries in the nation. The staff is very knowledgeable and always willing to help. They go the extra mile,” said Jean Roseman, a historian and author of “Shalom Nashville, A Jewish History” and “From Y to J, The Hundred Year History of Nashville’s Jewish Community Center” both of which are a part of the Library and Archives collection.
The Library and Archives' extensive and wide-ranging collections of books and original historical documents include state and county records, censuses and genealogical information, military records, penitentiary records, newspapers, city directories and telephone books, bibliographies, ledgers, manuscripts, letters, diaries, maps, photographs, broadsides, prints, postcards, oral histories, films, sheet music and general reference materials.
“In my research, I use the county records, newspapers, census and family records. They have so much material that you can’t find anywhere else. It’s not all online and it never will be,” said Sue Forshee Cooper, a professional genealogist and vice president of the Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society. “The new reading room is huge and so well organized. And everyone here is so nice and helpful, eager to help. I am thankful for them.”
With space for up to 300, the Library and Archives' new classroom and meeting rooms will allow them to accommodate larger school groups and provide more hands-on training for Tennessee's historians, librarians and archivists. The reading room gives visiting researchers, historians, archivists, genealogists, lawyers and students a bright, comfortable space to utilize the collections.
“The Middle Tennessee Genealogical Society is excited to use the new meeting space. We will probably have most of our meetings here. It is so beautiful, spacious and well planned. The displays in the lobby are so interesting and attractive. There are so many things to see. It is worth the trip even if you’re not doing research,” said Cooper.
For the latest information from the Library and Archives, follow their social media channels: Facebook: Tennessee State Library and Archives and Instagram: @tnlibarchives and the Secretary of State's Twitter account: @SecTreHargett.
Guests can visit the Library and Archives Tuesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. CDT by appointment. Email email@example.com to schedule a research appointment. Visitors are required to wear a mask.
For more information about the Library and Archives and the other divisions of the Department of State, visit, sos.tn.gov.
About the Tennessee State Library and Archives
The office of Tennessee Secretary of State Tre Hargett oversees the operations of the Tennessee State Library and Archives. By law, it is required to preserve Tennessee's legal and civic history by housing the archives of state government and collections of records from families, churches, businesses and organizations. TSLA is home to several notable historical documents, including Tennessee's Constitutions, letters from Tennessee's three presidents, Civil War diaries, records of 55 past Governors of the State and original records and maps of the State of Franklin. The collections include copies of virtually every book published about Tennessee and Tennesseans. Original documents from court cases and legislation, along with audio recordings of legislative proceedings since 1955 are preserved by TSLA. Copies of the records from every Tennessee courthouse and all surviving Tennessee newspapers can also be viewed in the library's collections.