This additional care for the collection, however, does not mean that it will become less accessible to the public. As we digitize the highlights while expanding and upgrading the collection, we will also add new electronic media about the founding era, allowing a significant amount of expanding information to be accessible to everyone. But the National Library will also be designed to allow historians and authors to spend time with the original books and manuscripts and will even include substantial capacity for interns as well as for visiting and resident scholars. Another ambition will be to re-create Washington’s entire library collection in a handsome yet super-secure vault.
When the library opens its doors, there will be room for not only the natural growth which takes place at any quality library, but also for accommodating new donations of books and manuscripts that we expect to materialize in the years ahead.
Our rare books and historical manuscripts are catalogued and searchable in our online catalog. Our extensive special collections, including the archives of the Mount Vernon Ladies' Association; photographs, postcards; and lantern slides; and ephemera are not yet in our online catalog. Some items are available in our Digital Collections and others are featured in our collections database, E-Museum.