New George Washington Library in Mt. Vernon

Mount Vernon is planning to build a new research library devoted to the study of George Washington. Here are few bits from the official announcement at the Mount Vernon website.

As the nation’s first and only center for amassing and disseminating knowledge about Washington, the Fred W. Smith National Library for the Study of George Washington will safeguard Washington’s books and manuscripts, serve as a scholarly retreat, create educational outreach programs on Washington, and provide seminars and training programs with a special focus on Washington’s leadership. Our goal is to advance scholarship and share that knowledge with the broadest possible audience, so that Washington’s example of leadership and character can influence and inspire current and future generations.

The building will be sited on a 55-acre portion of land behind the U.S. Post Office on Route 235. This location is near the Mount Vernon Inn Complex and the western visitor parking lot on land that is owned by Mount Vernon. We will be using the portion of the land closest to the estate and furthest from the surrounding communities.

The Library will provide archival storage conditions for the nearly 24,000 volumes, manuscripts, newspapers, maps, and archival items that constitute Mount Vernon’s Special Collections. It will also house Mount Vernon’s modern collections of approximately 12,000 books, serials and periodicals as well as reference materials containing biographical information about the Washington family, the continuous history of the Mount Vernon Estate, and 18th-century American life and culture. The Library will eventually serve as home to the office and files of The Papers of George Washington project.

There will be offices or work spaces for approximately 30 staff members as well as five interns and four visiting scholars. There will be additional rooms for seminars and meetings. The largest meeting room will seat 100 auditorium-style or about 60 classroom-style. The two smaller meeting rooms will seat 50 each.