I LOVE the new Church History Library!
I had the opportunity to tour it today for the first time. We were told the tours would be about 45 min. But when we arrived, they were more-or-less self-guided. There were so many people that I didn't bother to stop and examine a lot of things the way I would have liked, and just sped-read a lot of the signs and information they had up. Despite "rushing" through, I was still in there for an hour and a half.
It's a gorgeous building and much more "user-friendly" and accessible than their old home in the East Wing of the Church Office Building. They had put up a bunch of signs with "fun facts" that I'd like to see published somewhere. Some were more historical facts like the various ways that land had been used in the past, but most were fun facts such as how many carpet squares there were in the building, or the fact that you could fit 31.5 million ice cream sandwiches on the shelves of the archival freezers. (They have 12 archival rooms, 10 of which are kept at 55*F and 2 of which are kept at -4*F...the colder temperatures preserve the documents better).
They had a lot of artwork scattered throughout the building, pieces not really seen before. Of course most of it was in the office space, so most of us still won't be able to enjoy it on a regular basis. Though they do have several documents displayed in cases for all to enjoy.
But the most memorable thing, I think, was the amazing spirit there. They showed an orientation film where the catchphrase was "The Story Lives Here" I can't think of a more befitting line to sum up the purpose of the building. Someone along the way said that their mission was to record (/store) the building up of the church and its members. The artifacts they have, the stories they tell...all are extremely sacred, and tell of testimony and sacrifice and great faith.
And with continuing efforts to digitize much of their collection, it's actually accessible to us! What a tremendous blessing!