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.