arnegie Library

The Carnegie Library, completed in 1905, housed the University's ever growing collection of books and periodicals which was beginning to stretch the limits of the capacity of the building. The central section of the building on the first floor was used a s a reading room, and the surrounding rooms were used for special collections and offices. On the second floor were located a periodical room, stack rooms, and a gallery that extended around the central reading room.

Changes in the Library and Its Staff, 1918-1937

By the mid-1920's several important developments had occurred in regards to the library. Because “the student body and faculty had increased so largely, and the method of instruction had turned from textbook to library research, the first problem was one of reorganization.” At the suggestion of a specialist, the old library catalogue was discarded.

The larger printed cards issued by the Library of Congress were adopted for the new catalogue. The Library of Congress scheme of classification was also chosen for the arrangement of books, as it [was] the most flexible and scholarly of the approved schemes, and correspond[ed] most nearly in its treatment to the arrangement of subjects as found in the college curriculum.

Certain physical improvements to the library had been made since 1915. By 1920, the library had been “well lighted with electricity” through “the kindness of the class of 1917,” and because “the number of students making use of the library increased, more and better toilet facilities” were provided. The basement of the library was furnished and this increased space “for the storage of less important books and pamphlets.”

Several developments in the 1920's provided more space in the library for books and periodicals. When a “rest room for the women commuting students” was provided in the newly constructed Hunt Hall in 1928, the room in the library formerly used for this purpose could be used for library purposes. In addition, various collections that had been moved to the library when it had been completed in 1905 were removed from the library and this provided more space.

The collection of Indian relics, mounted birds, and animals was...moved to the Biology Building and the art collection which had formerly occupied the south room on the second floor, was provided for elsewhere and the entire second floor was fitted with book shelves.

As a result of these developments by 1931, “ ...from a building containing museums, taxidermy, women’s lounging rooms, and a main reading room with two side rooms, the entire space [had}...been turned to library purposes.”

During the 1920's, the library staff increased greatly so that by 1931, the staff consisted of “...nine students, one part-time experienced assistant, two full-time, graduate librarians as assistants, and the librarian.” By 1937, the library staff had increased to five assistant librarians, all of whom had professional training in library science, in addition to the Librarian who did not. In that year, the Carnegie Library contained “...more than sixty-five thousand volumes and about ten thousand pamphlets.”

Plans For A New Library

By the mid 1930's, the library was coming under criticism for its crowded condition from both within and outside the university. In 1938, President Marts informed the Trustees that the Phi Beta Kappa committee that inspected Bucknell in 1937 had criticized the library, and Marts urged that the university “...get a new library under way before [the committee] returned for their triennial inspection in 1940". That same year, Harold Hayden who had earned an M.A. in L.S. from the University of Michigan became the librarian, and in the following year Vice-President Rivenburg reported to the Trustees that Hayden “...was an excellent man and had made substantial progress since his coming in September.” In 1939, Dr. Daniel C. Roberts, Honorary Chairman of the Board of Trustees, gave two thousand shares of Woolworth stock “toward the expense of constructing the Library,” which got the new library “under way.” When Roberts died in 1940, part of his memorial resolution stated that “[i]t was [Mr. Roberts] hope to live long enough to see the construction of the new Library Building and had he lived he expected to give the balance needed to complete this fund.”

Carnegie Library in 1945

In 1945, the library staff consisted of the Librarian and five other librarians, four of whom had professional degrees in library science, and the library collection had grown to “...about one hundred thousand volumes and five thousand pamphlets.”

Library collections also were maintained in other buildings: the Classical, French, German and English literature collections in the Literature Library of the Vaughan Literature Building, and the chemical and chemical engineering library in the Chemical Laboratory building.

The Carnegie Library was located on the south side of the Men's College Quadrangle.

"the student body..." MBU, p. 116

"The larger printed cards..." ib., p. 117"

"well lighted..." ib., p. 116

"the number of students..." ib., p. 105

"for the storage of..." ib., p. 105

"rest room for..." ib., p. 118

"The collection of..." ib., p. 105

"...from a building..." ib., p. 118

"...nine students,..." ib.

"...more than sixty-five thousand..." CAT '37-'38, p. 26

"...get a new library..." BT, 12/17/1938, p. 7

"toward the expense..." ib., 12/16/1939, p. 2

"[i]t was [Mr. Roberts]..." ib., 6/8/1940, p. 2

"...about one hundred thousand..." CAT '45-'46, p. 27

The major source for the information on this page is the Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Bucknell University, 1920-1950 (BT '20-'50) and Memorials of Bucknell University, 1919-1931 (MBU '19-'31). Additional sources are the Catalogue of Bucknell Universtiy, Ninety-First Year, 1936-1937 (CAT '36-'37) , the Catalogue of Bucknell Universtiy, Ninety-First Year, 1937-1938 (CAT '37-'38), the Bucknell University Bulletin, Catalogue Issue, Ninety-Ninth Year, 1944-1945 (CAT '44-'45), and the Bucknell University Bulletin, Catalogue Issue, One Hundredth Year, January, 1946 (CAT '45-'46).

This building in other years: 1945 | 1965 | 1985 | Current
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