Carleton Library History

Throughout the many stages of its development, the Library has required expansion and planned for it in advance.

Almost immediately after Carleton's Library secured its own space on the fourth floor of Carleton College's first permanent location on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Lyon, measures were taken to find the Library a separate building. In 1951, Carleton University moved its ever-expanding Library to its new location at Second Avenue and Lyon. Within seven years, a two storey Library facility was constructed on the University's new Rideau River Campus. The new building consisted of steel columns designed to take the weight of three future floors: expansion was expected in the initial design.

The new building was dedicated on June 20th, 1958 to Murdoch Maxwell MacOdrum, who served as Carleton's second president from 1947 – 1955. Dr. MacOdrum was instrumental in promoting scholarship and sound teaching at Carleton, firmly believing the Library to be the heart of a university. 1957's enrolment numbers were greater than expected and the new building would not meet the demand. 1963 saw three additional stories added to the Library, with administrative offices located on the first floor and examination halls on the fifth.

In 1967, the Library continued to grow as Carleton acquired both St. Patrick's College's Library and the Library of School of Social Work, and assuming responsibility for Social Science reading room in the Loeb Building. Though further extensions to the Library were planned, the Province announced a moratorium on all new construction of Colleges and Universities and projects were shelved.

Throughout the 1970's and 80's, efforts were shifted within the Library to increase the use of computers and automation across its daily operations. The Library's holdings of government documents become automated in 1977, and the use of catalogue cards ended in 1982.

As study space became increasingly scarce in the Library, money was made available by the Minister of Colleges and Universities in 1988 and the Library's extension was completed in 1991. Thanks to ongoing support, the Library's expansion continues today to accommodate needs for increased storage and study space as well as accessibility.

Students studying at Carleton College Library, 1954
Students Harry MacDonnell and Marilyn Mansfield leaving the Library, January 1957
Students studying in Carleton Library, 1952
Christine Sutherland and Marilyn Mansfield in stacks at Carleton College Library, 1958
Students at the Carleton Library, 1958
Carleton College Library reference area, 1958
Entrance to Carleton Library on First Avenue, 1960
Students studying at the Carleton College Library, 1954
Carleton College Library staff and guests, 1953, Hilda Gifford on far right.
Librarian's desk in Carleton College Library, 1954
Students studying at Carleton College Library, 1954
Librarian Hilda Gifford with boxes of books at the Carleton College Library, 1954
Students studying at the Carleton College Library, 1954
Student John Mills helps Librarian Elizabeth Copeland unpack book donation, 1945
Students studying in the Special Study room at Carleton Library, 1954
Students in the stacks of third floor Maxwell MacOdrum Library, 1962
Students in Smoking Study at Maxwell MacOdrum Library, 1968
Students in Maxwell MacOdrum Library Listening room, 1968
Maxwell MacOdrum Library, microreaders in listening room, 1968