UWSP Faculty & Class 1924

University Library Centennial Photo Gallery 1894-1994

The Centennial Photo Gallery provides a glimpse of the dynamic history of the institution and its library. The University Library has grown from a small, local collection to a resource that, with the arrival of the Internet, spans the entire globe. In our 100 years we have truly realized the vision of the library that was so boldly stated in 1894:

"...the world is brought to our doors, and all the latest news and most advanced thought in various lines of human activity" (Catalog, 1894)

Click on any of the images below to view a larger, full version of that image in a new window.

The Library ca. 1903: "She is the ever ready friend of him who appreciates books" (souvenir issue, Pointer 1902). Elizabeth Fotheringham Simpson, Librarian from 1897 until 1906. She hailed from Manchester England and was preceded in her post by the first professional librarian at the University, Irene Warren, who served from 1895-1897. This classic photo was taken in the second location of the Library, now the site of the Alumni and Foundation offices in Old Main. The Library was originally housed---from 1894 until the summer of 1901---in Old Main in what is now the Chancellor's office. Elizabeth Fotheringham Simpson
Card Catalog 1940s Card Catalog ca. 1940: In the 1940's the card catalog was the central index to the collection. The catalog vanished in the summer of 1988, shortly after the Library installed its first online computer catalog. The Library from 1894 until 1953 contained all of its services and collections in a single room! Space for users and materials had become so cramped by the early 1950's that the book stacks were closed to users.
Circulation Desk 1945: 1940 saw a bustling circulation area in the Library's third location in Old Main, the former Assembly Hall (now the site of the north wing, second floor). The Library occupied these quarters from the fall of 1924 through the summer of 1954. Controversy surrounded the move of the collection into the newly remodeled Assembly Hall. The move, planned for 1923, was postponed and the facility condemned for a year following the discovery by state engineers that the floor of Assembly Hall would not support the weight of the library. As the newspaper put it, the Library was "an active menace to the gymnasium in use beneath" (the floor of the new Library was the ceiling of the campus gymnasium!). A special state appropriation of $5,000 provided the necessary reinforcements. Circulation Desk 1945
Students Talking 1945 Wartime Conversation 1945: "Before the war---during the war---after the war, the "libe" is often a spot where boy meets girl" (College Life at Central State [1945?]). The week of April 8, 1945: students relax while newspaper headlines document a world at war.
A Building of Our Own - 1954: An architect's rendering of the first campus building designed and constructed solely as a library. Currently the Student Services Building, this facility was "The Library" from the fall of 1954 until the spring of 1970. The new building housed a collection that had reached over 50,000 volumes, and included media such as microfilms, films, and sound recordings. Soundproof study rooms, a classroom, and a theater were also highlights of the new facility. The building was planned for 150,000 volumes, which "under normal growth would be reached by the library in 50 years" according to the Library Building Committee. It took less than 20 years to reach that mark, as by 1970 the collection had spilled over the 200,000 volume line. In its second year of operation, 1895, the Library had amassed a collection of over 4,000 books and 200 bound periodicals. By 1994 the University Library had more than 1,600,000 items, including 286,000 books and 58,000 bound periodicals. Architect's New Library Rendering 1954
Circulation Desk 1955 Circulation Desk 1955: A 1955 view of the spacious new circulation and card catalog area in the new Library.
The New "LRC" - 1970: The dedication photo of the new James H. Albertson Center for Learning Resources. Occupied in May of 1970, the current facility was soon nicknamed the "LRC." The new facility, dedicated and named in memory of James H. Albertson, University President from 1962-1967, was designed to integrate print and multimedia learning resources into a single, active learning and production environment. The new building was also constructed as a response to doubled student enrollments and the rapid growth of resources. LRC Building 1970
LRC Lobby 1972 The Lobby of the LRC in 1972: A 1972 view of the card catalog area in the main lobby of the University Library.
The LRC in 1994: The current LRC, following an extensive remodel and addition in 1985. The remodel doubled the space, adding on a 6th floor and 10,000 square foot cantilevered wings to floors two through five. LRC Building 1994