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Library History

Library front The Dick Smith Library began in 1894 when the school was known as Stephenville College and books were shelved in a church ante-room.  From 1899 to 1956 the library shifted about eight times, located in a strange array of college departments including the President's Office, the College Book Store, and the Dining Hall before settling in its current home at the heart of campus.  In 1955, construction started on the new permanent home for the Tarleton library.  The $400,000, two-story, red brick building equipped with the most modern facilities available was completed in 1956. 

A renovation and addition to the library in 1985 doubled the size, and the access, utility, and beauty of the library was greatly enhanced. Included in the expansion was an audio-visual room, computer lab, and meeting rooms. 

Over the last decade, the library has kept pace with the latest in technological advances with the development of a library network, utilizing a variety of electronic resources and databases. Planning for a $5.2 million renovation and expansion began in December 2001 with construction getting underway in April 2004. Library services were uninterrupted throughout the project as the library staff and materials relocated within the building during various stages of construction. The dust, noise, and clutter cleared in January 2006, when the final construction phase seamlessly joined the library to the old math building expanding the space to 83,500 sq. ft.

While the library has made vast improvements over the years, planning began in 2013 for another renovation project to make even greater changes and expansions to the Dick Smith Library. 

Changes will include:

  • Writing Center relocating to the Library
  • Technology Help Desk
  • Tutoring Services
  • Collaboration tables and rooms with large flat screens for group work

Expansions and Renovations will include:

  • Café/coffee bar
  • Multi-purpose meeting room
  • 100 public workstations
  • Electric, data, and wireless for laptops
  • Print/copy room
  • Reference services
  • Periodical services

The $1.9 million construction and renovation is set to be completed in May 2014. The library will remain open throughout the construction process with various resources being relocated for continuous access.

The library through the years...

Historic photo of the circulation desk of the old library Historic photo of the inside of the old library Historic photo of the inside of the old library Historic photo of the front of the old library Historic photo of the stacks inside the old library 1984 library construction - adding the basement/new front 1984 library construction - adding the basement/new front 1984 library construction - adding the basement/new front 1984 library construction - working on second level/front, adding HVAC via a crane 1984 library construction - Linda Land, formerly of the library staff, walks into alternate library entrance during construction Group studying at the Dick Smith Library Computers on Level 3 of the Dick Smith Library Collaboration Room at the Dick Smith Library Coffee Bar area during Library Commons Renovation Brick wall taken down during Library Commons Renovation Architect drawing of Library Commons Renovation