In honor of the 50th anniversary of the I.D. Weeks Library building, the Archives and Special Collections has organized a special exhibit to display the changes of the USD library through the years, from the beginning of the university in 1882 through today.
The first exhibit on the second floor of I.D. Weeks focuses on a specific aspect of the library’s construction – Operation Book Lift, which was held in April 1967. Of particular note is an actual fabric bag that was used by USD students and faculty to help haul books from the original library building from 1912 to the new library building.
The second exhibit, outside of the Archives and Special Collections room, focuses on the role of women throughout the library’s history. Several women were head librarians and some even had the role of dean. Another aspect discusses the large donation by a Sioux Falls woman, including a rare 1817 edition of Homer’s The Iliad, and the final aspect analyzes the discrimination against USD’s female students.
The final and biggest portion of the exhibit is a timeline of the library. Though most of the library’s original books were destroyed in a massive fire in 1893, students, faculty, and community members donated books to help the university’s library to grow. In 1912, Andrew Carnegie donated a library building, allowing the library to be housed in its own place for the first time since the university’s founding. After various expansions and renovations, and a rise in students, President I.D. Weeks (who was president of USD from 1935-1966) reached out to the Board of Regents in hopes to build an entirely new library building to house the library’s almost 300,000 volumes. The new library opened in spring 1967 with an official dedication in fall 1967.
Over the next few months, the exhibit will be on display; for those unable to view the exhibit in person, photos will be attached with this post! For more information regarding the exhibit or any of the materials used, please visit the Archives and Special Collections on third floor for a list of the collections consulted.