Library at Gustavus (Part 5 of 10) Posted on January 17th, 2022 by

OLD MAIN (1897-1920)

In celebration of 50 years in the current library building (known as the Folke Bernadotte Memorial Library), we’ll be spending the year looking at the history of the library at Gustavus.

In 1897 the library moved back into Old Main, housed on the second floor.  Branch libraries continued to exist in both the School of Commerce and the School of Music.  Professor J.A. Youngquist, librarian from 1898-1907, continued work on the subject catalog, and in 1901 requested, and received, remuneration for his work as librarian.  Hulda Mallgren served as acting librarian from 1907-09.  Conrad Peterson took over in 1909, and undertook the task of creating a card catalog.  When Peterson left in 1913, his assistant librarian Edith Knock became the librarian as well as teaching in English and mathematics.  She worked to place old periodicals into bound volumes in an effort to make them more accessible to students.

In 1902, a finding list of books was created for literature, history, and political science.  Books were listed in alphabetical order by author under each division and subdivision.

An accession book was kept to track new books added to the collection, and you can view the accession book in the College Archives.  Each new book was assigned an accession number and originally written by hand, and later typed into the accession book.  Before the finding list and subject catalog were created, the accession list provided the only information on the collection.

In 1913, the card catalog was finally completed.  Students could now look for books by author, title, and subject.  This eliminated the need for the subject catalog and finding list.  Early cards were individually typed, but were later ordered from a company.  Maintaining the card catalog was time-consuming as new cards had to be filed for all new materials that were acquired.

Victoria Johnston, hired in 1919, was the first professionally trained librarian employed by the college.  She received her library degree from the University of Iowa.  She had no teaching duties but was a housemother for one of the women’s dormitories.  All librarians hired after Johnston had library science degrees.

Please send us your library memories:


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