University of Michigan. Library.Alternative names
See the Library Records finding aid for the history of the University of Michigan library system.
From the guide to the Library (University of Michigan) publications, 1881-2002, 1950-2001, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)
The University Library system at the University of Michigan provides information resources and services to faculty, students, staff, and the public, and is comprised of undergraduate, graduate, and subject-oriented divisional collections. One of the leading research library systems in the world, the library holds over seven million volumes and a wide variety of cartographic, audiovisual, manuscript, microform, and digital materials.
The idea for the University Library was conceived in the university's earliest stages. The Act of 1837, which provided for the organization of the university, included a provision stating that a portion of student fees would go toward increasing the library. The Board of Regents elected a faculty member, the Reverend Henry Colclazer, to serve as librarian. A year later, in September 1838, the Regents passed a resolution authorizing Asa Gray, Professor of Botany and Zoology, to purchase the materials to serve as the basis for the library's collection while on a tour of Europe, and appropriated $5000 for this purpose. While in London, Gray commissioned George Palmer Putnam to select most of the materials, developing a collection of 3,401 volumes covering the subjects of history, philosophy, literature, science, the arts, and law (the complete list of titles was printed as a state document in 1841). The library at U-M is unusual in that, unlike most academic libraries, it was established through a major purchase rather than a gift.
In November 1841, just after the university opened for classes, the Regents approved the Regulations for the Library, which included that the library would be open once a week, that no books be loaned to students without faculty approval, that fines were to be paid for overdue books, and that no more than two volumes could be borrowed at a time. Initially housed in the home of one of the university's professors, the books were moved to the third floor of the Main Building in December 1841.
Aside from small additions of books and periodicals, the library's collection remained fairly static until 1854, when President Henry Tappan initiated a subscription drive among Ann Arbor residents to raise funds for acquisitions and called for an annual appropriation from the Regents. These acts brought a steady infusion of money to ensure ongoing collection development. After years of having a succession of faculty members serve annual terms as the librarian, Tappan's son, John L. Tappan, was appointed as full-time librarian in 1856, and effectively became the first Librarian of the University.
As the library's collections grew, the library continually outgrew the space afforded it. After a series of shared homes, including spaces in the North University Building and the Law Building, in 1881 the state legislature appropriated $100,000 for the library to have its own purpose-built building. Opened in 1883 and located in the center of campus, the library consisted of a large reading room attached to cruciform stacks. When the library outgrew that space and several additions, in 1915 the university secured over $350,000 (later supplemented by additional appropriations) from the legislature for a new building to be designed by Albert Kahn. The existing library was demolished, and a new General Library building opened in 1920. Several divisional libraries, including collections devoted to rare books, natural science, chemical engineering, education, and museums were also established during this time period. Some of these collections were housed within the General Library while others were hosted out of academic departments or other buildings on campus.
Over the years the directors of the University Library made a number of important contributions to the development of the library and the larger field of library and information science. Andrew Ten Brook (1864-1877) introduced the library's first card catalog, with handwritten author and subject cards for both books and periodical articles. Raymond C. Davis (1877-1905) directed increased collection development and oversaw the opening of the first General Library building. Theodore W. Koch (1905-1915) developed the library's first reference collection and instituted a library orientation program. William Warner Bishop (1915-1941), nationally recognized as one of the country's leading librarians, presided over the establishment of the Library Extension Service, the opening of the new General Library in 1920, the development of substantial divisional and specialized collections, and a number of cataloging innovations, in addition to leading the university's first Department of Library Science and serving terms as the presidents of the American Library Association (ALA) and the International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA).
In the 1950s and 1960s, the way in which the library provided services to the academic community evolved. Whereas once the General Library had served as the major research center for all academic subjects on campus, as the university's academic programs expanded and the need for collections to support those programs grew, the General Library's role came to be seen more as providing support solely for the humanities and social sciences. Specialized divisional libraries and libraries that provided services targeted to particular groups of patrons began to grow to support all other subjects. Rather than conceiving of them as small collections that supplemented the General Library, the library began developing larger and more self-contained divisional libraries, including the Physics-Astronomy Library, the first divisional library to be purpose-built rather than housed in a building designed for other purposes. As the network of campus libraries grew larger, the entire system came to be known as the University Library system.
The most important new library built in this time period was the Undergraduate Library, which opened in 1958. Designed to house a select collection of standard works commonly consulted by undergraduate students, the Undergraduate Library was the first large open-stack library on campus (though many of the divisional libraries already had open stacks). The Undergraduate Library differed from other libraries on campus in that it contained space for students to read, listen to recordings, and meet with others, as well as reference services specifically geared to undergraduate students. Open stacks were subsequently introduced in the General Library. These innovations led to increased library use and circulation on campus.
A seven-level addition to the General Library was constructed in 1970. The new addition nearly doubled the General Library's capacity, and provided added space for users and staff. While originally only the South Building was to be given a new name, soon after its opening the entire complex housing the North and South Buildings came to be called the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library. New divisional libraries were also constructed in the 1970s and 1980s, most notably the Taubman Medical Library in 1979.
In the 1970s, the University Library system began a program of automated cataloging through the Michigan Library Consortium. Automation became fully integrated into library operations in August 1988, when the library's online catalog MIRLYN (Michigan Research Library Network) was introduced. The retrospective conversion of card catalog data was funded by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and included over 10 million bibliographic records, covering 99% of the library's collections.
The University Library continued to grow in the 1990s. One of the most significant developments during the decade was the establishment of the library's Digital Library Services in 1993, which develops and maintains digital resources to support research and instruction and provides technology management services for the University Library system. Another important accomplishment was the library's participation in the campus-wide initiative led by President James Duderstadt to design the Media Union on North Campus. Opened in 1996, the Media Union houses the Art and Architecture and Engineering Libraries, and hosts and provides services for an extensive array of innovative digital tools and resources.
The University Library continues to be one of the leading research libraries in the world, with innovative programs in digital library services, access, and reference, and nearly unparalleled depth and breadth of collections. For more information on the University Library, please consult its website at http://www.lib.umich.edu. In addition, several resources available at the Bentley Library provide detailed histories of the library. For a concise history of the University of Michigan Library to 1958 the interested researcher should consult The University of Michigan, An Encyclopedic Survey, vol. 3. A comprehensive history of the library can be gleaned from the University of Michigan President's Report published annually from 1853 to 1984, as well as the 1982 report from the University Library's Collection Analysis Project (found in this record group, Box 188). Consult the printed catalog for these and other historical summaries.
(Please note that some of the libraries at the University of Michigan are not part of the University Library system. These include the Law Library, the Kresge Business Administration Library, the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Library, the Clements Library, and the Bentley Historical Library. Individual findings aids for the record groups of most of these libraries can be found at the Bentley Library.)
From the guide to the Library (University of Michigan) records, 1837-2005, 1920-2000, (Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan)
|Place Name||Admin Code||Country|
|Ann Arbor (Mich.)|