By Betsy Thorpe
On April 8th, in a presentation to the Bellevue Rotary Club, local resident and State Archivist, Jay Richiuso related the history of the of Tennessee State Library and Archives. Richisuo also explained the careful process involved in preserving newspapers and historical documents and shared information on various collections held inside the archives.
When first established in 1854,The Tennessee State Library was located at Nashville’s old Davidson County Courthouse. The library later moved to the State Capitol building. In 1953 the Tennessee State Library And Archives formally opened at it’s present location at 403 Seventh Avenue North. Plans for the construction of a new building to house the Tennessee State Library And Archives are complete, however no date has been set for the ground breaking ceremony. According to Richiuso, the state’s new archival repository will stand near the Bi-Centennial Mall in north Nashville.
The Tennessee State Library And Archives offers the public access to micro-filmed copies of the more than three hundred newspapers and periodicals currently published in Tennessee. Micro-film of the states historic publications are also available to the archive’s visitors. The staff of the library’s Preservation Services Department utilize a series of precautionary steps to the insure the historic preservation of Tennessee’s newspapers and documents. During the micro-filming process publications and documents are collated, ironed, filmed and developed before they are duplicated. Three copy’s are made of each roll of micro-film negatives and for security they are stored at three separate climate controlled locations. One Rotarian present at last weeks meeting asked Mr. Richiuso why the state continues to employ the complicated process of micro-filming since the technology of scanning images to a computer is more technologically advanced. “When stored in the proper climate and environment micro-film negatives will last at least three hundred years, and require only light and magnification to be viewed”, Richiuso said. He also explained how access to computer scans rely on electricity and the availability of certain computer programs and how it is unknown what resources will be available in the future.
Materials held by the Tennessee State State Library And Archives include census records, county records, historic and current maps, the papers of Tennessee Governors, military records, and selected birth and death records. Serving the needs of a wide range of citizens, visitors to the archives include members of the Tennessee General Assembly, attorney’s, educators and students, genealogists, journalists, historians, public officials and scholars.
The Bellevue Rotary Club meets at Shoney’s on Highway 70S every Wednesday at 7:00 am. Rotarian, Arthur McKew who hopes to see the club’s membership expand this year, invites anyone interested in learning more about the Bellevue Rotary and their civic service to attend one of the clubs weekly meetings.