There was no formal library as such when the Bloomsburg Literary Institute was revived in 1866 under the direction of Henry Carver. The 1868 catalog did state that the school's literary society had a good reference library, which was located in Institute Hall, now Carver Hall. When a dormitory was completed in 1869 a room was provided there for the library. When that building burned down in 1875 a new dormitory that would be named Waller Hall in 1927 was completed the following year. There were now two literary societies and space was allotted on the first floor of the dormitory for both their libraries. This situation worked out satisfactorily since almost all students were members of one society or the other and had access to the books.
By 1888 a reading room was opened to provide students with daily and weekly newspapers in addition to well-known periodicals. But the school was growing at this time and required more than this, and so in the fall of 1890 a large room on the first floor of the dormitory was turned into the school's first formal library. The room held the school library and books from the two literary societies, including standard works of fiction, history, and reference books. A student with the title Custodian of the Library oversaw operation of the new facility. By 1892 a faculty member, Prof. Francis H. Jenkins, was named Librarian to provide more formal supervision in addition to his teaching duties in grammar and composition. Jenkins created the first card catalog that was ready for use in January 1896. He did not have formal training, however, and so in 1895 a professionally trained librarian was hired as an assistant.
The Library on the 1st Floor of Waller Hall, 1905
An addition to the dormitory completed in 1894 enabled the library to move to a larger room near the entrance to the gymnasium. It also served as a study hall, with rows of desks in addition to shelves, tables, and easy chairs. The library remained there until the summer of 1907 when the completion of Science Hall freed up classroom space on the dormitory's second floor. Recitation rooms and a hallway were combined to provide a larger space for the combination library/study hall, along with the growing collection. Several hundred dollars worth of books were acquired each year.
(Left: The Harvey A. Andruss Library, 1970)
New undergraduate programs, enrollment that grew to over 7000 students, and the change to university status in 1983 increased the library demands of students, faculty, staff, and administrators to the point where the size of the collection reached over 2.5 million items. Like other academic libraries in the late 1980s and 1990s, Andruss Library responded to the advances in information technology by providing an automated public catalog, CD-ROM and Internet accessed databases, and systems for circulation, cataloging, and serials.
In spite of the comfortable surroundings offered by the new facility, emphasis has been and continues to be placed on making access to as many of the Library's resources as possible available to our clientele elsewhere on campus and off campus. All of the web-accessible databases can be utilized from anywhere with an Internet connection. Online forms have also been created to allow users to initiate requests (e.g. interlibrary loan requests, requests for books in process, book purchase requests, reference requests) from anywhere.
From its simple origin as a literary society library Bloomsburg University's Harvey A. Andruss Library has grown to become a major research and information center far beyond the imaginings of Henry Carver nearly 140 years ago.
The Harvey A. Andruss Library, 1998
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