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Library History

Library front

The Dick Smith Library, named for a highly respected Tarleton professor and benefactor, has grown from one room into a three level structure with 83,500 sq. ft., seating for over 700 users, and housing over 1 million 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 network that provides access to a variety of electronic resources, research databases, and selection tools. A $5.2 million renovation and expansion was completed in 2006. While the library's exterior remained relatively unchanged, the interior changes were dramatic with spacious study areas; group study rooms; fully-equipped instruction classroom; a multi-purpose meeting center; comfortable student lounge with coffee bar; reconfigured, well-lit stacks; AV listening rooms, and a striking Special Collection Suite.

The latest building renovation started in 2011 when seldom used items in the periodical and reference collections were moved to remote storage. This made room for a renovation of the west side of the facility to accommodate the Center for Instructional Innovation (CII) offices, which was followed by a $2 million renovation of the remaining main floor area into the Library Learning Commons.  Opened in June 2014, the Library Learning Commons provides a campus “hub” for collaborative study and work spaces where students can interact with cutting-edge technology, research resources, and support services like the University Writing Center, Tutoring Services, Information Technology Services, CII Online Instructional Support, and Dining Services.


The library through the years...

Library images through the years