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McCain Library and Archives Renovations and Repairs Completed

Fri, 10/02/2020 - 15:08pm | By: Dawn Smith

McCain Library and ArchivesRenovations to the interior of The University of Southern Mississippi’s (USM) McCain Library and Archives, located on its Hattiesburg campus and home of University Libraries’ Special Collections, were recently completed, ensuring the integrity and safety of the Libraries’ collections for future research.

Included in this project is a cool storage room with a separate air handler and additional insulation. This area will be used to safely house the archive’s negatives. Much-needed compact shelving has been installed to accommodate growth of Special Collections’ holdings. Special Collections also received an upgraded preservation space, with the addition of running water and increased workspace. In the future, a dehumidifying chamber and freezer, to inactivate potential mold growth in incoming material, will be added to advance preservation work in the collections.

Repairs to the exterior of McCain Library and Archives have also been completed. In addition to the replacement of water vapor barriers and improved French and patio drains that will aid in temperature control, the building received a fresh coat of paint, new railings, lighting, and brick pavers. “The changes will support enhanced preservation practices and allow collections to be returned from offsite storage as well as provide some growth space,” said Lorraine Stuart, head of Special Collections. “The change in appearance to the building is remarkable. Visually, it is now much more representative of the importance of the collections it houses. Under President Bennett, you can see a vision for an attractive and stately campus coming to fruition. I am so pleased that the McCain building is furthering that mission.”

Discussions about the renovations and repairs to the McCain Library and Archives began in 2017, with work officially beginning in June of 2018. Due to COVID-19, the project experienced delays but work resumed in the spring of 2020, coming to a conclusion in September. “A side benefit,” Stuart said, “has been the opportunity to work with the University’s Physical Plant. From the hiring of the forensics team to shepherding the project through the COVID shut down, they have exhibited a reassuring level of expertise. I always felt confident in their ability to do an outstanding job, and they have.”

For information and USM’s Special Collections in the McCain Library and Archives, visit