The Dick Smith Library, named for a highly respected Tarleton professor and benefactor, has grown from one room into a three level structure housing almost 1,000,000 items. Beginning in 1894, when the school was known as Stephenville College and books were shelved in a church ante-room, the Library was shifted about and located in a strange array of college departments including the President's Office, the College Book Store, and the Dining Hall. The Library was given its own home in 1956, when a new building was erected. It was a two-story structure that surrounded an open mezzanine. 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 with 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.
While the library's exterior remained relatively unchanged, the interior now exhibits many dramatic changes: spacious study areas; 10 additional study rooms; fully-equipped instruction classroom; a multi-purpose meeting center; comfortable student lounge; reconfigured, well-lit stacks; AV listening rooms, and a striking Special Collection Suite. The Dick Smith Library expanded to 83,500 sq. ft. It can house up to a half million books and seat over 700 visitors.
The library through the years...