Theodore Hesburgh Library is the primary building of the University of Notre Dame's library system. The present-day building opened on September 18, 1963, as Memorial Library. In 1987, it was renamed Hesburgh Library, in honor of Rev. Theodore Hesburgh, C.S.C., who served as the university's president from 1952 to 1987. The library's exterior façade that faces the university's football stadium includes a large, 134-foot (41 m) by 68-foot (21 m) mural called Word of Life, or more commonly known as Touchdown Jesus. As of 2009, the library ranked as the 61st largest collection among research universities in the United States, with an estimated 3.39 million volumes.

Hesburgh Library
The Hesburgh Library, the reflection pool, and the Word of Life mural
41°42′09″N 86°14′03″W / 41.70250°N 86.23417°W / 41.70250; -86.23417
LocationNotre Dame, Indiana, United States
TypeAcademic library
EstablishedSeptember 18, 1963 (1963-09-18)
Branch ofHesburgh Libraries
Size3 million+ books
3 million+ microform units
34,000+ electronic titles
28,850+ audiovisual items
Access and use
Access requirementsStudents, faculty, and staff
Population served14,000
Other information
Budget$27 million
DirectorK. Matthew Dames, Edward H. Arnold Dean, Hesburgh Libraries and University of Notre Dame Press
References: [1][2]

History edit

Early libraries edit

Before the establishment of a library for students, students took the initiative to establish literary societies, that served as the source of literature and discussion of scholarly topics. The first one was the St. Aloysius Literary Society, which was founded in 1850 and six years later established the first student library.[3] It was followed by the Aloysius Philodemics, the Philopatrians and the St Edwards Library Society.

The first circulating library at Notre Dame was created in 1873, by President Rev. Augustus Lemonnier, and incorporate the previously existing student libraries. It was housed on the third floor of the Main Building and its first librarian was Jimmie Edwards, CSC. In 1879 the Main Building was destroyed by fire and 500 books were lost. After the Main Building was rebuilt, a new library was established with a budget of $500 and comprised 16,000 volumes. In 1888, during the golden jubilee of Fr. Edward Sorin, a new library was opened on the third floor. By 1900, it contained 52,000 books. In 1907 the university hired Florence Espy, a professional librarian, to catalog the collection. After the death of Edwards, Paul Foik, came to Notre Dame in 1912, and took over his positions; he pushed for the construction of a library building.

A new building (the present-day Bond Hall) to house the library was built in 1917 and was dedicated during the 75th anniversary. By 1920, its collection reached 103,000 volumes. The library uses the Library of Congress classification system.[4] Thematic collections were established in other buildings in subsequent decades. A separate engineering library opened in 1933, followed by a biology library in 1938, the Medieval Institute in 1946, and the Nieuwland science library for chemistry, physics, and mathematics in 1953.[5]

Current library edit

As president of the university, Father Theodore Hesburgh was focused on raising the academic profile of the institution, which so far had been heavily reliant mostly on its athletic fame. The Hesburgh administration launched a series of grand fundraising campaigns, the first of which was the 1958 "Program for the Future", aimed to raise $66.6 million over ten years. Among its top priorities were two graduate residence halls, money for student aid, and faculty and administration development. The highest priority was the new library to supplant the old and small library, which Hesburgh believed to be out of date and no longer adequate for the academic goals of the university. The campaign was greatly helped by a 6 million dollar grant from the Ford Foundation.[6]

In 1959, Father Theodore Hesburgh announced plans for construction of a new library, which he believed to be the necessary next step towards greater academic achievement. The announcement and subsequent fundraising campaigns placed emphasis that the new library would be on par with the nation's top universities by number of books and resources and would play a role in raising the profile Notre Dame among the great American universities.

Initially, it was considered to place the new library in the place of the Main Building, either by demolishing it or by converting the structure into a library. Several plans features the destruction of the Main Building with the exception of the golden dome and the statue atop of it, which would be integrated into the new modern library building. Eventually, the unfeasibility of these designs and the opposition of alumni to the destruction of the golden dome and main building forced the administration to look for a different location. Eventually, in June 1960, it was decided to place it on the eastern edge of campus, with the understanding that this was the direction that the university was expanding in. This necessitated the destruction of a gymnasium and of Vetville, which housed married graduate students.[6]

Ground was broken in 1961, with the Ellerbe Company of Saint Paul, Minnesota, as the project's architect. Construction took three years. Memorial Library officially opened on September 18, 1963.[7][8]

The finished structure, which is 210 feet (64 m) tall, is built on a site that encompasses 315 square feet (29.3 m2). The interior of 429,780 square feet (39,928 m2) has two lower floors that serve as a base for a narrower and nearly windowless 13-story tower capped with a smaller penthouse. Interior floors have few walls and are supported by bare columns to create a flexible space to arrange stacks of books. The size of the windows was minimized to reduce glare and avoid uneven light from the outside. The two lower floors feature a more extensive use of glass, as well as brick and tweed granite, while the upper floors are finished in Makato stone.[8]

The library's collection reached one million volumes in 1970 and surpassed 1.5 million volumes in 1986.[5] In 1987 the library was renamed Hesburgh Library in honor of Fr. Hesburgh, the university's retiring president, who served as Notre Dame's president for thirty-five years (1952–1987). In his retirement, Hesburgh maintained an office on the library's thirteenth floor, overlooking the Main Quad.[7][9]

As of 2009, the library housed 3.39 million volumes. The Association of Research Libraries ranked it the 61st largest collection among research universities in the United States.[10]

In 2015, the university began major renovations to the library that will modernize its interior design.

Notes edit

  1. ^ "Hesburgh Library" (PDF).
  2. ^ "Hesburgh Library".
  3. ^ Kavanaugh, Cricky (12 December 1991). "Glancing Back" (PDF). Scholastic. p. 26.
  4. ^ Nicholson, Elizabeth. "Library Guides: Starting Your Research: Find Sources". Retrieved 2023-10-25.
  5. ^ a b "Chronology of Notre Dame Libraries". University of Notre Dame. Retrieved June 29, 2017.
  6. ^ a b Grubiak, Margaret M. (November 2010). "Visualizing the modern catholic university: the original intention of "touchdown jesus" at the university of notre dame". Material Religion. 6 (3): 336–368. doi:10.2752/175183410X12862096296847. ISSN 1743-2200. S2CID 190668799.
  7. ^ a b Michael O'Brien (1998). Hesburgh: A Biography. Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press. p. 303. ISBN 0-8132-0921-8. See also: "Father Theodore M. Hesburgh". University of Notre Dame. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  8. ^ a b "Theodore M. Hesburgh Library". University of Notre Dame. Retrieved June 27, 2017.
  9. ^ Hesburgh joined the Notre Dame faculty as an instructor in the religion department in 1945 and was named head of the school’s theology department in 1948. He was appointed as the university's executive vice president in 1949 and succeeded John J. Cavanaugh, C.S.C., as president in 1952. See Linda C. Gugin and James E. St. Clair, ed. (2015). Indiana's 200: The People Who Shaped the Hoosier State. Indianapolis: Indiana Historical Society Press. pp. 169–71. ISBN 978-0-87195-387-2. See also: Martin L. McAuliffe Jr. (1970). Profiles of Excellence. Evansville, Indiana: University of Evansville Press. pp. 114–20. OCLC 575784.
  10. ^ "The Future of Hesburgh Library". The Observer. Notre Dame, Indiana. September 2, 2009. Retrieved June 29, 2017.

References edit

Further reading edit

  • Stevenson, Marsha. "Style and Symbol: Library Buildings at Notre Dame." In Gleason, Maureen; Blackstead, Katharina J. (1994). What Is Written Remains: Historical Essays On The Libraries Of Notre Dame. Notre Dame, Indiana: University of Notre Dame Press. ISBN 9780268019495.
  • Winkler, Erhard M. (October 1967). "'Word of Life': Stone Mural Dominates Notre Dame Library". Stone Magazine.

External links edit