Chronology of Notre Dame Libraries

The Collegiate Years, 1842-1916



1842

  • The University of Notre Dame du Lac founded.

1869

  • Mention of a "college library" with 7,000 volumes.

1873

  • A central circulating library for students established in the Main Building at the initiative of the President, the Rev. Augustus Lemonnier, C.S.C.

1874

  • Jimmie Edwards named first librarian of Notre Dame's circulating library.

1879

  • (April 23) - The Great Fire! The Main Building is destroyed along with all but 500 books in the library.
  • The Rebirth - the Main Building is rebuilt and a library opens in September.

1882

  • The "Fathers" or College library merged with the students' circulating library.
  • First formal library budget - $500.
  • 16,000 volumes in the library.

1884

  • Science Hall, with a separate library, opens.

1886

  • First telephone in the library
  • First electric lights in the library

1888

  • A new library on the third floor of the Main Building opens.

1900

  • 52,000 volumes in the library.

1907

  • First professional librarian, Florence Espy, hired to catalog the library.

1914

  • Separate law library established.


A University Library, 1917-1962



1917

  • (June 10) - a new separate library building dedicated.

1918

  • First graduate courses.

1920

  • 103,000 volumes in the library.

1928

  • First photocopy machine in the library.

1929

  • Reclassification of collections from Dewey to Library of Congress system.

1933

  • First separate engineering library opened in Cushing Hall.

1938

  • First electric charging machine acquired for library circulation.
  • Separate biology library opened in Wenninger-Kirsch (now Haggar) Hall.

1940

  • 195,000 volumes in the library

1945

  • First microfilm reader was acquired.

1946

  • Medieval Institute, with separate library, established.

1953

  • Nieuwland science library for chemistry, physics and mathematics opened.

1959

  • President Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C., announces plans for a new
library building.

1961

  • Ground-breaking for the new library, designated the Memorial Library.

1962

  • Mathematics and Computer Science library opened.


A Research Library, 1963-present



1963

  • Memorial Library, with subject-based services and separate undergraduate and research collections, opened.
  • Radiation Laboratory library opened.
  • Architecture library opens in old main library building.

1970

  • Life sciences library opened in Galvin Life Science Center.
  • One-millionth volume added.

1972

  • Subject divisional arrangement of collections and services in Memorial Library ended.
  • Women admitted to the undergraduate program.

1980

  • Earth sciences library closed, with most collections transferred to Memorial Library.

1981

  • Library acquires first personal computer.

1985

  • Libraries begin collecting videos.

1986

  • 1,546,048 volumes in the libraries.
  • The NOTIS automated library system acquired; initial installation begins.

1987

  • Memorial Library renamed for President Emeritus Theodore M. Hesburgh, C.S.C.
  • First CD-ROM product.
  • Libraries' card catalog closed (no more cards filed).
  • First public access to UNLOC (University of Notre Dame Libraries' Online Catalog).

1988

  • The "Great Bar-Coding Project," in connection with the pending automated circulation system.

1989

  • First library preservation unit established.

1991

  • Kellogg Center Reading Room opened.

1992

  • Information begins to become available from Libraries through the internet.

1995

  • (August) - the Libraries' World Wide Web homepage becomes available.

2003

  • Renovation of the Lower Level in Hesburgh Library completed.

 

For the more complete account, see:
Miller, Robert C. "The University Libraries and Notre Dame: A Chronology." WHAT IS WRITTEN REMAINS: HISTORICAL ESSAYS ON THE LIBRARIES OF NOTRE DAME. Ed. Maureen Gleason and Katharina J. Blackstead. Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame Press, 1994.

Pictures courtesy of University Archives.