Library at Gustavus (Part 6 of 10) Posted on February 22nd, 2022 by

The library moved to the top floor of Commerce Hall during summer 1920. Within two years, the School of Commerce had closed, and what was Commerce Hall, became known as the Library Building. The Library Building housed the library upstairs and classrooms downstairs. By 1926, the library consisted of approximately 16,500 volumes and 7,500 pamphlets. In 1928, the Alumni Association held their annual banquet with the theme “The Library – Soul of the Cultural College,” which started a campaign to raise funds for the library. As the 1930s began, the library received 3,000 volumes from the recently closed Minnesota College in Minneapolis.

In the early 1940s, Edwin Vickner and his wife Bertha (Almen) Vickner proposed a donation of funds to be set aside for cultural reading and reference collection. This became the Almen-Vickner Collection which covered a wide variety of subjects from the sciences to the arts and humanities. One stipulation of this gift was that the collection be housed separately from the library’s main collection.

When Edith Brainerd, librarian from 1943-44, left, she compiled a report about the inadequacies of the library, including insufficient funds and staff, poorly selected books, substandard reference collection, and gaps in the general collection. She also noted that the library had no budget, many books were missing, and some needed to be reclassified. The card catalog also needed to be updated.

In 1944-45, under the direction of interim librarian Odrun Peterson, an inventory was taken of the collection. The old figure stated the collection held 35,368 items, but the new count was actually 20,365. During this inventory process, incorrect Cutter and call numbers were changed and accession numbers were assigned if none could be found.

Grant Hanson, formerly of Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois, took over as head librarian in 1945. He oversaw the planning for the first campus library building and an improvement of the library collection. He decided that gifts, which were always welcome, would be added at the discretion of the librarian, as not all donations were appropriate for the collection.

The library was open 7:45am to 9pm each weekday except Saturday, when the hours were 7:45am to 5:30pm.

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