This Is Auburn Auburn University Libraries History of the Auburn Libraries

History of the Auburn Libraries

1859    The first library of East Alabama Male College opened and was housed in a room of the original college building, Old Main. The book collection was begun by the Wirt and Webster literary societies.

1890    The library occupies three rooms on the second floor of Samford Hall (built after fire destroyed the Old Main in 1887), contained 8,000 volumes, and was open eight hours a day. It subscribed to 92 periodicals.

1904    Electric lights are added in the library rooms. By the end of that year, the number of volumes had increased to 20,926.

1910    Auburn’s first dedicated library, Mary E. Martin Hall, is completed to serve a student body of only 1,000 students.

1939    Mary E. Martin Hall is enlarged to serve the current enrollment of 3,850 students

1955    AU enrollment had swelled to 9,100 students and the lack of library capacity was reaching a crisis point.

             Legislative efforts begin to fund a new library building.

1959    A $100-million bond issue was approved by the state legislature for a new library building.

1960    March, building site approved.

December, bids to build the edifice as designed by Van Keuren, Davis and Co. of Birmingham came in and the contract was awarded to Mid-South Constructors, Inc. for their low bid of $1,995,000. Specifications called for a building of 170,000 square feet with seating for 2,200 and a capacity for 900,000 volumes.

December 21, groundbreaking ceremonies for the new library are held.

1963    January 3, building opens.

            November 5, building dedicated.

            Equipment and furnishings cost $2.6 million.

            Department of Archives established.

1965    Building named after AU President Ralph Brown Draughon, president of AU from 1947 to 1965.

1966    500,000th volume added, “Hippocrates Opuscula” (1485).

1969    Average cost of a book - $7.99.

1971    Veterinary Medical Library opens in Greene Hall.

            Auburn Library Topics began publication.

            Teletypewriter Exchange (TWX) installed for inter-library loans.

1973    Became a full depository library for U.S. Government documents.

            Dr. William Highfill becomes library director and serves until 1993.

1974    Installation of 5¢ photo copiers.

1975    Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET) computer-assisted catalog system installed.

1977    Architecture Library opens in Dudley Commons.

1978    Haley Center reading room established.

            Map collection is designated as U.S.G.S. Map Reference Library.

            Average cost of a book - $27.58.

1979    Auburn University President and Mrs. Philpott donate 1,000,000th volume, “The Great Bible.”

1980    Closed stacks established in basement.

1982    Oxmoor collection added in special collections.

1983    National Endowment for the Arts project starts for newspaper microfilming.

1984    Northwestern Online Totally Integrated System/ Library User Information Service online public access catalog goes live.

            Microwave placed in 3rd-floor lounge.

            First Online Public Access (OPAC) terminals installed.

1985    First online databases: Wilson Indexes.

1986    Barcoding project begins in summer.

1988    Groundbreaking for $21.3-million library expansion, which includes the first parking deck on campus.

1990    Keyword searching capabilities added to online system.

1991    Dedication of RBD Library addition.

            Free patent searches.

Smoking ban in libraries.

1992    Association of Research Libraries (ARL) membership.

            XCP Venda-Cards are issued for photocopying.

1993    Bobby Holloway becomes Dean of Auburn University Libraries.

1997    Library surpasses two million volumes.

            Voyager integrated library system installed.

            Dr. Stella Bentley becomes library director.

2001    A-Z move.

            Library goes wireless.

            Sheri Downer serves as interim library director.

2003    First digital collection added: Loveliest Village photo collection.

2004    Library opens Internet Café and Stacks Café.

2005    Digital Resource Lab opens.

            Bonnie MacEwan named Dean of Auburn University Libraries.

2006    First “Up All Night” event.

2009    Caribou Coffee shop opens.

2010    Learning Commons dedicated.

Three millionth volume added, “Philip Henry Gosse: Science and Art in Letters from Alabama and Entomologia Alabamensus.”

2012    Study Commons dedicated.

2013    Library Of Architecture, Design and Construction renovation completed.

2015    December, ground broken on Mell Classroom Building addition to RBD Library.

2016    A-Z book shifting begins to accommodate the 38,000 square feet of the RBD Library that is being taken in for classrooms.

Offsite Library Storage Facility (OLAF) constructed.

2017    August, Mell Classroom Building addition dedicated.

2018    Nancy Noe serves as interim Dean of Auburn University Libraries.

            Panera Bread restaurant location opens in RBD Library, the first on a university campus.

2019    Dr. Shali Zhang named Dean of Auburn University Libraries.

2020    COVID-19 pandemic causes almost all of the AU campus to close and most work to be done remotely beginning March 13. Interlibrary Loans continues operations, supplying research materials to universities both in the U.S.A. and internationally.

Last updated: 03/16/2021