World Stamps

By Michael Baadke

APRL celebrates opening of new library

October 13, 2016 08:45 AM

  • A view inside the newly constructed American Philatelic Research Library in Bellefonte, Pa., reveals chairs and tables for work and reading, and shelves filled with library materials on both floors of the new facility. Image courtesy American Philatelic Research Library.

By Michael Baadke

After years of planning and preparation, and a full year of construction, the American Philatelic Research Library will hold its grand opening event Oct. 28-29 at the American Philatelic Center, 100 Match Factory Place, Bellefonte, Pa.

The celebration marks the formal opening of the library, which recently moved from its temporary space at the headquarters of the American Philatelic Society into a newly renovated facility described as “state of the art.”

“Stamps tell many stories and have preserved all that we are as a nation,” said Scott English, executive director of the American Philatelic Society. “This library is home to many of those important stories and now, more than ever before, can make it accessible to collectors and the public.”

The events include a Friday night dinner with keynote speaker David Beech, the longtime curator of Philatelic Collections at the British Library and former president of the Royal Philatelic Society London.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony is scheduled for Saturday at 10 a.m. Also planned are displays and tours, special Saturday hours for the library and APS departments, and a book fair.

A pictorial cancellation and souvenirs are also expected.

More information, including hotel options, is available on the APS website, or by calling 814-933-3816.

The library and the APS offices are both part of a historic match factory complex in central Pennsylvania that was in disrepair when it was purchased by the library in 2002.

The American Philatelic Center covers approximately 100,000 square feet and includes rental space for 11 business tenants.

The new library uses 19,000 square feet of space for shelving the world’s largest collection of philatelic literature.

“Open stacks beneath faux copper ceilings on two sides of the room hold the library’s books, government documents, exhibits, and show programs,” the APRL noted in its announcement of the library opening.

“At the back of the main floor, there’s a cozy reading lounge, conference table for group study, and a children’s area, all with large windows. The loft-style second floor is reached by a wide center staircase or a side elevator. The open stacks house the library’s journals and airmail collections. The second floor includes two more reading lounges and a carrel room with storage lockers for visiting researchers. Windows overlook Talleyrand Park.”

The facility also includes a shop on the main floor offering used and new books, gifts, and souvenirs.

The library is open to the public, though only APS members have borrowing privileges.

“Our world-class collections and services now have a world-class home,” said APRL Librarian Tara Murray. “I can’t wait to show it to our supporters and members.”

For additional information about the American Philatelic Research Library, visit online.