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Thursday, April 18, 2019

200,000 Milestone Reached

Zhang Legacy Collections Center; WMU Archives and Regional History reaches 200,000 holdings milestone.

The 200,000th barcode was added into the holdings catalog at the Zhang Legacy Collections Center on April 5, 2019. A barcode is applied to every book and individual box or folder of manuscript materials placed on the 32-foot high shelves in this state of the art archival storage facility. The building was projected to have seven years of growth at the time of construction and is now at 88% capacity. The building also features a reading room which hosts researchers, classes, and community events.  
Tall 32 foot stacks in the environmentally controlled area.

The Zhang Legacy Collections Center opened in October 2013 and brought together research collections which had been housed in several locations throughout campus. The Center houses the Western Michigan University Archives and Regional History Collections and provides storage for the University Libraries. At the time of the initial move, there were just over 69,035 barcodes entered into the system.  

Since its construction, more than 76,000 researchers have visited the Zhang Legacy Collections Center, including scholars from other academic institutions who have used the collections focusing on the history of people, businesses, organizations, and culture in Southwestern Michigan. Librarians from other universities have visited the Zhang to get ideas for planning similar facilities and the project has been featured in presentations at two international conferences.  

In keeping with Western Michigan University’s commitment to sustainability, the project earned LEED silver designation. The building is heated and cooled using a geo-thermal system and also uses less water and energy in daily operations. Materials for the construction project were selected for environmental sustainability and rain gardens placed around the perimeter collect and filter run-off water. To learn more about the Zhang Legacy Collections Center or research materials housed in the facility, visit  

The center at 1650 Oakland Drive is one of the largest in Michigan. It is open to the public and the WMU Community with librarians and curators to assist in locating historical materials. Hours vary with the University schedule:

Exterior of the Zhang Legacy Collections Center