Milestones at the library


Holly Kinnamont ‘12 uncovered details of the library’s history from the librarian’s annual reports and set up a timeline display during the summer.

1935-1936: Librarian notes popularity of student senior theses for research and asks that they be cataloged.
“Typewriting room” has six desks and one typewriter.
1936-1937: Rare and unusual items stored in “treasures room.”
Classes for freshmen about using the library – 30 minute lecture on card catalog, encyclopedias, almanacs, and the stacks.
1937-1938 : British Americana collection started. Included mostly information about travel to the U.S. by British visitors.
Phone + Philadelphia Union Library Catalog = instant Interlibrary Loan.
1938-1939: Library handbook printed.
1939-1940: 500th anniversary of printing observed. President Aydelotte led lectures about printing.
Many exhibits with major wartime propaganda.
1940-1941: The Swarthmoreana collection was founded.
Popular student-run library exhibits: Fractional currency, ivory carvings, Bookmakers’ club.
1941-1942: Exhibits: Literary Hoaxes, Martha Graham, Mexican Wartime Cartoons.
1942-1943: Popular reference lectures: “English for engineers” and “English for pre-meds.”
Official collection of wartime posters was started.
1943-1944: 49 Chinese Naval officers enrolled at Swarthmore. This helped popularize reference lectures even further.
1949-1950: Instituted library tours during freshmen orientation.
1951-1952: Introduction of microfilm.
Battle of the closing library hours: Students want the library to stay open later on the weekends.
1960-1961: Dupont Science Library opens.
Collection reaches 200,000. (74 years to reach first 100,000 volumes; 23 more years to reach 200,000.)
Library begins storage of course exams for studying. (Honors exams had already been kept for many years.)
1962-1965: Implementation of the “Three-College” library corporation.
1967-1968: Completion of McCabe Library.
The late-night study debate: Not enough space on the usual late-night floor, so all floors are open until midnight.
1971-1972: Appointment of first subject specialist: humanities librarian, James A. Hinz.
1972-1973: Underhill Music Library opens in Lang.
Introduction of computerized cataloging at a conference—speculation about a computerized catalog for McCabe.
1973-1974: Student workers and assistants, who had previously only worked in circulation and shelving in the libraries, are now trained for reference work at Dupont Science Library.
1974-1975: Introduction of Xerox machines – 5 cents a copy.
1975-1976: Microfilm replaced many periodicals and dominated research, especially in cramped Dupont Library.
Library catalog is computerized.
1977-1978: Two research guides published: information tools in American History and a detailed guide to bill-tracing from Congressional materials.
1978-1979: Keyboard terminal computer purchased for the first time: LA 36 Dec-writer II in Dupont.
Plans for a campus computer center are developed.
1980-1981: Computers used through cooperative agreements with regional libraries like BMC/HC through PALINET/PARLIE library networks.
1982-1983: Cornell Science and Engineering Library opens.
McCabe reference desk installed with full reference staff. Workshops help students with independent research.
1983-1984: Videocassettes became one of the most popular resources.
Popular collections: “Children’s Books,” “Collecting Stamps,” and “US-USSR Reconciliation.”
1990: Tripod, the online TriCollege library catalog, debuts.

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