The former Hanford Technical Library rapidly is being reduced to rubble.
Work began Aug. 1 to demolish the 3760 Building, which housed the library and should be completed Sept. 30, according to Department of Energy contractor Washington Closure Hanford.
Workers spent several months preparing the building for demolition, including removing 10,000 square feet of transite paneling, which contained asbestos.
The building, just north of Richland in the Hanford 300 Area, was built in 1952.
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It was a two-story, 22,250-square-foot structure that had a large open room containing stacks of documents -- much like a public library -- and a storage vault that held classified documents.
In 1997, the Hanford Technical Library moved to the Consolidated Information Center on the campus of Washington State University Tri-Cities, where it is now with the WSU Tri-Cities Library and the DOE Public Reading Room.
Under a DOE contract then, it provided technical information to Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and Hanford staff.
However, Hanford support for the library was discontinued in 2012 and the library became the PNNL Technical Library in fall 2010.
In 1964, the library had 45,000 volumes, 17,000 bound periodicals, 200,000 unclassified documents and a classified file of 161,000 documents.
Twenty years later, it had 50,000 volumes, 60,000 bound periodicals, 450,000 unclassified documents and 50,000 classified documents. In the 1990s, the number of unclassified reports had grown to 800,000.
However, computers have changed the need for large physical spaces for technical libraries.
Today, the library continues to have a small print collection, but use has largely shifted from print to electronic resources, according to PNNL. More than 99 percent of the resources used by PNNL staff are online, it said.
The library subscribes to 13,000 journals online and has more than 35,000 books and conference proceedings, and it offers access to tens of thousands of digitized technical reports from its own collection and that of DOE's Office of Scientific and Technical Information.
In 2012, PNNL staff used 1.3 million items provided by the technical library.
Hanford also has an Integrated Media Center, dedicated in 2011, that is home to historic Hanford documents, videos, microfiche and photo negatives dating back to World War II.
-- Annette Cary: 582-1533; firstname.lastname@example.org; Twitter: @HanfordNews