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Sprinkler Installation to Limit Wilson Library Special Collections Access in 2011-12

Update, May 28, 2012: The sprinkler installation project is nearly complete. All Wilson Library special collections materials are now accessible. Read more.

Installation of fire sprinklers in the Wilson Special Collections Library stacks will begin during the summer of 2011. The project will affect the availability of research materials during the 2011-12 academic year.

During the project, which is expected to last approximately one year, each of the library’s nine stack floors will be closed for six to eight weeks in order to protect library collections. The materials in each work zone will be enclosed in floor-to-ceiling protective sheeting and will be inaccessible until the floor re-opens.

A schedule for the closures is still being finalized. The Wilson Library staff is contacting users now to reduce the impact on research and teaching activities.

Users who expect to need specific special collections materials for research or teaching during the summer of 2011 or the 2011-12 academic year should contact Wilson Library as soon as possible. With early notice, staff will make every effort to work with users to identify and make these collection materials available during the project. Staff can also advise on the availability of collections during the installation.

The project will affect materials from the North Carolina Collection, the North Carolina Collection Photographic Archives, the Southern Historical Collection, the Southern Folklife Collection, University Archives and Records Management Services, and the Rare Book Collection.

Direct questions and requests for materials to Wilson Library at (919) 962-3765 or As the project progresses, updates will be posted to the Wilson Library sprinkler project information page.

The project is expected to cause little disruption in the reading rooms, exhibit galleries, and other public areas of the library. It will not affect the Music Library or the science collections in Wilson Library.

The sprinkler project is funded by a grant from the Sustaining Cultural Heritage Collections program of the National Endowment for the Humanities and by previous state appropriations to the University for repairs and renovations.

The sprinklers will provide long-needed fire suppression capabilities for the rare, unique, and largely irreplaceable research materials housed in one of UNC’s landmark buildings.

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