On October 5, 1997, Hale Library was officially dedicated ending an 80 year architectural odyssey and ushering in a new world of library resources, both traditional and electronic. The college library was completed in 1927, making it the first building on campus devoted solely to housing the library. Lack of space continued to be problematic and in 1955 the stacks addition was completed to the south. At that time the library was named in honor of Francis David Farrell, the university’s eighth president (1925-1943). To alleviate overcrowding, a second addition to the southeast was completed in 1970.
Growth of collections and services, combined with a severe reduction in quality study space, led to outside consultants recommending that the library be expanded at a cost of $28 million. With dwindling state resources for construction projects, an innovative answer to how finance a new library had to be found. Three components came together to fund the project: a federal wind fall of funds to the state allowed Governor Joan Finney to allocate $18 million for the construction; K-State students passed a referendum to provide $5 million; and Joe and Joyce Hale, impressed with the students’ financial commitment, came forward with $5 million. Without all three, the library addition and renovation could not have become a reality. To recognize the essential contribution of the Hale’s the new library was named in their honor. To acknowledge the importance of the original library and its namesake, the 1927 structure retains the designation of “Historic Farrell Library” and the main entry to Hale is officially known as the Farrell Entrance.
Other major donors provided initial and more recent funding during the last decade, including the Kansas Farm Bureau Insurance Co., Andreas Foundation, Archer Daniels Midland Foundation, Dow Chemical, William R. Love, Richard and Marjorie Morse, and Mr. and Mrs. Dan Wassenberg. The Friends of K-State Libraries, founded in 1984, has provided funding for numerous acquisitions, furniture, and equipment during the last ten years. Students continued to support its library through funding initiatives that include computer stations for the InfoCommons, SFX software, and the Google Search Appliance.
One of the major goals of the new library was to assimilate the old and the new structures, architecturally and aesthetically. With that in mind, the construction encased and expanded the west, south, and east sides of the previous library, while leaving the original 1927 building exposed to preserve its historic beauty and significance. In 1999 Hale Library received the Merit Award for Excellence from the American Institute of Architects for the central states region.
On the interior, the library was designed to be user friendly and house the collections, services, and departments necessary to anticipate and provide the needs of the 21st century. In addition to providing traditional library material (the holdings are approaching two million cataloged volumes!), library resources are available to distant users through data bases with full text delivery, innovative searching capabilities (most recently the Google Search Appliance), digital initiatives, and interlibrary services. To meet the challenging role of providing information to users, the Collection Services and Access Services Departments have met and advanced the demands presented by the information explosion. To support the technology needs of students and faculty, the Information Technology Assistance Center (iTAC) is housed in Hale. The space odyssey of a library never ends and K-State Libraries has entered a cooperative agreement with the University of Kansas to house bound volumes in a shared storage facility in Lawrence.
The following areas are key components of K-State Libraries’ commitment to providing information, collections and services to targeted user groups: Dr. William R. Love Science Library, Dow Chemical Multicultural Resource Center, Richard L.D. and Marjorie J. Morse Department of Special Collections, Government Publications, the branch libraries at the colleges of Veterinary Medicine, Architecture, and Engineering, and the Math/Physics Department.
As emphasized by Lori Goetsch, Dean of K-State Libraries, “an even more powerful link to…information resources is the human link.” By 2007, the Libraries employed 136 FTE staff to provide users with information and services. Dean Goetsch replaced Brice Hobrock as dean when he retired in 2004 after serving 21 years in that position.
To meet the needs of the library and its constituents in the future, library administration and staff ended the first decade of Hale Library’s service by completing “A Living Strategic Plan” for 2007-2012. As stated in that document, the “K-State Libraries…has been adapting for the past decade to both the challenges and opportunities posted by today’s digital information environment. With the realization that more and more information is created and shared electronically it is the goal of the Libraries to foster a flexible, adaptable, and creative environment to meet these changing needs.” The staff of K-State Libraries is looking forward to serving its myriad of users in the next decade with anticipation and confidence that their search for scholarly information will be successful.
Anthony R. Crawford
13th in the Keepsakes series