Skip to main content

History

The Mathematics Library has existed since soon after the founding of the University.  It has always been located in the same building as the Math Department which was White Hall until the summer of 1999 and in Malott Hall since then.   By late in the 19th century, it became a more formal library and moved several times, most likely to stay in a room adjacent to the chairman of the Math Department.  From 1928 to 1958 the library was in Room 223 White Hall adjacent to the department secretary who was in charge of the library in addition to her other duties. 
 
The collection in these years consisted of books owned by the Math Department and books borrowed from the University Library.  Due to overcrowding in the University Library and a proliferation of department libraries all over campus this was a common arrangement.  Increasingly there was a reliance on the University Library to acquire new materials. 
 
In 1953 the Math Library became an integrated part of the University Library system.  The collection was completely cataloged and classified into the Library of Congress system and the distinction between department and library ownership of books was eliminated.  For the first time, dedicated staff for the Library was hired by the University Library. 
 
In 1959 White Hall was extensively renovated and the Math Department and Library were in Lincoln Hall while the work was under way.  Upon returning to White Hall late in 1959, the Library was located in two large rooms, 109 and 115, which constituted approximately one third of the first floor.  The growth of the collection rapidly consumed this space, and in December 1965 rooms 101 and 103 were added to the library.  In 1973 room 102 and 104 were added and the library occupied about one half of the first floor. 
 
In the summer of 1980, space was again sorely needed and the floors were dangerously overloaded.  Renovations that year combined smaller rooms numbered 101-104 into a large room numbered 101, rooms 201-204 directly above 101 were combined into a large room numbered 201 which was add to the library and connected via an internal stairway.  All of the floors under the library were reinforced with steel beams to cut the span of the wooden floor joist in half.  New shelving was installed in 101 and 201 to make optimal use of the space. 
 
By 1999 the library was hideously overcrowded and years of stuffing shelving into every nook and cranny had eliminated most of the seating.  The renovated space we moved into in Malott Hall trippled the floor space and quadrupled the seating capacity.