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Iowa State University. Library records

 Record Group — Multiple Containers
Identifier: RS 25/1

Scope and Content

This collection consists of materials related to the University Library. Records include news clippings, annual reports, newsletters, brochures, publications, biographical files, administrative records, accession records, radio program records, and directors files.


  • 1879-2015, Undated


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

Open for research.

Use/Re-use Restrictions

Consult Special Collections and University Archives


The Library was first housed in Old Main. An initial purchase ($2,500) for books for the library was made in 1870 by President Welch (who may have been in charge of the Library until 1873.) From 1873 to 1877, students in the positions of Librarian and Assistant Librarian staffed the Library. In 1878, J. C. Arthur was appointed Librarian on a part-time basis, in addition to his duties as Demonstrator of Botany and Zoology. Flora Wilson was the first full-time Librarian, appointed in 1894. The Library was moved to Morrill Hall in 1896 and to the Central Building (now Beardshear Hall) in 1913. By this time, only a small segment of the collection was located in the Main Library. Most of the volumes were housed in reading rooms in various campus buildings. In 1925, the new library building was completed and the decision was made to consolidate the collections and house all of the Library's 115,000 volumes under one roof. The only volumes left outside of the Library were those in the Chemistry and Engineering Reading Rooms. The new facility was not large enough to allow for adequate expansion and was outgrown in five years. It was not until 1959 that the Legislature appropriated $1,312,500 to build an addition to the Library. This addition was completed in 1961, with a second addition completed in 1967. A third addition was completed in 1982. In addition to the main library (Parks) there are also the following reading rooms: Design (established in the Fall of 1978), Economics and Sociology (established in the mid 1940’s), Mathematics (established 1969), and Physical Sciences (established in November 1949). The Veterinary Medical Branch Library was established in the Fall of 1976.

The Dean of Library Services is directly responsible to the Provost

Librarians, Directors, and Deans:

J. C. Arthur(1878-1879)

J. K. Macomber (1879-1883)

Mary McDonald (1883-1885)

Ida M. Riley (1886-1888)

Cora Marsland (1889-1890)

Fanny Thomas (1890-1893)

Flora Wilson (1894-1897)

Vina E. Clark (1897-1916)

Vera Dixon (1916-1920)

Gladys M. Rush (1920-1922)

Charles H. Brown (1922-1946)

Robert W. Orr (1946-1969)

Warren B. Kuhn (1969-1989)

Nancy Eaton (1989-1997)

Olivia M. Madison (1997-1998) Interim

Olivia M. Madison (1998-2014)

Beth McNeil (2015-2019)

Hilary Seo (2019-present) Interim


1 collection

Processing Information

Released on 2019-03-25.

RS 25/1. Iowa State University. Library records
December 3, 2019
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives Repository

403 Parks Library
701 Morrill Road
Iowa State University
Ames Iowa 50011-2102 United States
(515) 294-6672