The university’s first library opened in September 1877 in Old Main. It had two books, but by the turn of the century the library, situated on the third floor, had more than 7,000 books. The growing collection unfortunately weighed down the floor supports, making them unsafe. It found a new home in the Buckingham Library building in 1904.
To accommodate the rapid growth of the university, President George Norlin, who served from 1919-39, envisioned a library that would be the largest between Chicago and the West Coast. Norlin Library opened Jan. 6, 1940.