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The Avenir Foundation Room

The public rooms on the first floor are richly decorated with neo-classical details in carved wood, painted plaster, and marble. The fine craftsmanship seen throughout the building reflects the skill of master contractor Henry L. Van der Horst of Kalamazoo, Michigan, in executing Kahn’s design. In 2013 the grand exhibition hall was named “The Avenir Foundation Room” in recognition of the Foundation’s generous donation toward the renovation and expansion project. As part of the project, The Avenir Foundation Room became our primary reading room upon re-opening in April 2016. The room now comfortably seats 22 researchers Monday through Thursday. In addition to the original alcove cabinets, a row of new display cases has been installed to nearly double our exhibition space. On Fridays or by special appointment, the public is invited to enjoy the room and view our current exhibits. A restored 1851 Columbian press at the east end of the room represents the hand-powered printing technology that produced most of the books, pamphlets and newspapers in the Library collections.