The purpose of Union College’s Kelly Adirondack Center and Adirondack Research Library is to engage the campus community and the wider public with the interdisciplinary study of the Adirondacks and the complex relationships between nature and society.
The Adirondack Research Center (ARC) was founded in 1979 as an unincorporated association affiliated with Union College for the purpose of fostering a better understanding of the New York State Forest Preserve, the Adirondack Mountains, and the administration of the Adirondack Park. Most notable in the collection is the history of the conservation movement in the Adirondacks. Central to its mission was the growth of a research library available to the general public containing Adirondack titles, as well as the archives of the Association for the Protection of the Adirondacks (AfPA). In 1985, the ARC moved its office, collections and formal affiliation from Union College to the Schenectady Museum. In 1988, the ARC merged with the AfPA, becoming the education arm of the organization. From 1989-2003, the collection again moved to rented space on Roland Place. In 1995, ARC became the Adirondack Research Library (ARL). This was after Paul Smith’s College founded the Adirondack Research Consortium, and began using the same acronym. Paul Schaefer died in the summer of 1996, leaving his lifetime accumulation of books, papers, and other records to the ARL. The AfPA purchased Schaefer’s home from his family and, in 2004, built an addition with space designed to house the ARL. In 2011, the Center for the Forest Preserve was sold to Union College and became the Kelly Adirondack Center (KAC).