The Presidential library system consists of 13 libraries nationwide which are maintained by the Office of the Presidential Libraries. This department is part of NARA – the National Archives and Records Administration. The Presidential library is not one in the traditional sense.
It is actually a place where the papers, records, and other historical materials related to the each of the Presidents of the United States are stored. Several of the libraries were created by NARA. However, recent presidents have elected to build their own libraries in their home state. The George W. Bush Presidential Library is the 13th one created and currently resides in Lewisville, Texas.
The George W. Bush Presidential Library current location, though, is temporary. The library’s permanent home will be on the Southern Methodist University campus in Dallas, Texas. SMU had been working to win the bid since George Bush was elected to office in 2001. However, it wasn’t until he had started his second term did official in the Whitehouse asked six colleges to submit their bids for the library. The other five included Baylor University, University of Texas System, Texas Tech, the University of Dallas, and Midland College. After a small amount of controversy, legal wrangling, and negotiations, SMU was chosen as the location of 13th Presidential Library on February 22, 2008.
In 2007, Robert A.M. Sterns Architects were chosen out of a group of 3 bidders to design the library. Stern is familiar with the SMU campus and has experience designing notable buildings such as the Harvard Business School’s Baker Library. The George W. Bush Foundation is working to raise $300 million in funds to build the library. On November 16, 2010, the George W Bush Presidential Library broke ground with both friends, such as Condoleezza Rice and Dick Cheney, and foes, a group of anti-war protesters, in attendance. The ceremony was invitation only and featured a speech by the former President himself.
The cost of building the George W. Bush Presidential Library is expected to be around $250 million. The erection date is scheduled for 2013. When completed, the library will have a museum, archives, library, policy institute, gift shops, and cafes. It will be 225,000 square feet in size and is expected to bring in 250,000 visitors to the area every year.
The types of materials that will be available for public consumption at the library include official records that document the former President’s administration, electronic recordings, photographs, videotapes, and an artifact collection consisting of domestic and foreign gifts received by George W. Bush.