University of Vermont

Vermont Quarterly

A new beginning for Billings

Billings Library illustration

Alumni Connection /
Philanthropy

A new beginning
for Billings

At its dedication in 1885, Billings Library was described by UVM Professor N.G. Clark as “...an oration in stone, speaking to all people of this commonwealth of the advantages of broad scholarship and culture.”

Designed by famed architect Henry Hobson Richardson and considered one of the premier examples of “Richardsonian Romanesque” architecture, Billings Library is regarded as the architectural gem of the University of Vermont campus.

The Billings Library Renovation Project ushers in a new era for this historic UVM building, extending its storied role in the life of the university and preserving a treasured Vermont landmark. The project is a high
priority for the university and the new University of Vermont Foundation.

Upon completion, Billings will return to its original purpose as a vital center of UVM intellectual life, housing Special Collections, the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies, and the Center for Research on Vermont. Billings Library will be a key part of the infrastructure UVM provides to meet the information needs of the twenty-first century.

Special Collections first came together in Bailey Library in 1962. It has grown to become the state’s largest research library and a major hub for research and programming on Vermont. Materials range from medieval manuscripts to contemporary books and photographs; from the papers of Ethan and Ira Allen to those of senators George Aiken, James Jeffords, and Patrick Leahy.

The Billings renovation project will greatly expand and improve housing and security for these rare and valued materials, with climate control ideal for their preservation. Strict adherence to best practices in design of long-term storage environments—including modern security systems—will ensure that the collections are available to future generations.

The Center for Research on Vermont will also have a new home in Billings Library. Established in 1975, the center has grown to become a statewide resource for Vermont-related research. With an interdisciplinary network of scholars, it serves a number of constituencies, including state government, public schools, higher education institutions, museums, cultural and social agencies, and the general public.

Billings will be a fitting home for the Carolyn and Leonard Miller Center for Holocaust Studies, named in recognition of a major gift from Carolyn and Leonard Miller (UVM Class of 1951) that enabled the university to expand its Holocaust Studies faculty and programs significantly.

—Jay Goyette

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