Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sesquicentennial Stories: The Promise of UK #133

The Carnegie Library was dedicated on November 24, 1909. For more than forty years, the State College of Kentucky had no centralized library.  Departments had small collections of technical books for their own use and students were urged to go downtown for reference books.  In the early 1900s, President Patterson obtained $26,500 from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie for the erection of a library building.  $2650 was pledged annually from the Board of Trustees for its upkeep and maintenance and the yearly budget for books was $2,000.  

According to a March 28, 1907 Lexington Leader article the new library was 58 x 58 feet, with a high basement to be used as a reading room.  Above the basement there was only one story, but was very high allowing for a balcony in place of a second floor.  The basement was made out of stone and the rest of pressed brick with a tile roof.  It was small but one of the most attractive and symmetrical buildings in the city.

Completion of the Carnegie Library provided space for the executive offices of the president and his secretary, Miss Margaret I. King, who also served as the librarian.  The library held over 3,500 volumes but was soon too small for the growing institution.

The Carnegie Library remained as the campus wide book repository until 1931 when the new library opened in June – it was known simply as The Library (until it was later named for Margaret I. King).  The Carnegie Library was repurposed as the Anthropology Museum.

By 1967, UK’s growing enrollment demanded change and three building were selected to be razed: White Hall, the Patterson House and the Carnegie Library to make room for a new office-classroom complex.

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