Starting in just a few short weeks, the Rudolf Steiner Library will begin a monumental once-in-a-generation journey. Books, journals, pamphlets, manuscripts—all 36,000 items in the library’s care must be raised from the old wooden Carriage House, with its three floors and narrow stair cases, and moved down the road to a stone building with a single, open floor plan—an old church in the heart of Philmont, just four miles away. Once in this new space—where all of the materials can be arranged and seen at a glance in a common area, and where proper work areas can be set up with sufficient space for processing large quantities of material at the same time—the massive project to arrest the forces of decay can begin. Every item will be cleaned, journals will be re-housed in sound boxes, brittle materials will be tested for acidic paper and set aside for deacidification, cataloging will be completed on materials that are currently invisible to the membership, and the whole collection will be reorganized. Of chief importance to ongoing efforts to increase access, the library will make a push to digitize all one-thousand linear feet of journals, which provide an unbroken record of anthroposophical thinking and research dating back to the 1920s.
In order to allow the staff of the library to focus their attention and will on accomplishing this great task, the library will need to close its lending and research services temporarily. The window of opportunity to move the library is rapidly closing—the goal is to have the library completed relocated before the holy nights begin—so we must move quickly.
To meet our goal, library lending and research services will be temporarily suspended on December 1st and the doors of the Carriage House will close to visitors. The library’s intent is to reopen services as quickly as possible. In order to accomplish this mission, library staff need to focus all of their energies on cleaning and caring for the collection, a process that may take from six months to a year. Once the collection is settled in Philmont, the doors will be open to visitors and volunteers, though lending services will remain suspended because of the active cleaning and preservation activities.
We encourage you to request any books that you would like to use over the next year before December 1st. All requests received by the end of the day on December 1st will be honored and shipped immediately. Books will be shipped free of charge with a one year due date. All books that are currently checked out have automatically been extended to a one year due date.
For more information about the planning behind the transition, please download the transition plan booklet. You will soon receive the Annual Appeal letter, which is focused on support for the library move and preservation activities. The next issue of being human will contain an article about with additional information and context about the library’s move. You can follow every step of the library transition on this blog.
This is an exciting time in the history of the library, a turning point that will provide a renewed foundation for expanded programs, services, and collections to support research and study in the Society and in the broader anthroposophical community. Thank you for your patience and support as we undertake this endeavor.