Published: June 1, 2014

Norlin Library

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.

When it opened, its innovative features inluded fluorescent lighting fixtures.

The sundial in the plaza on the east side of Norlin Library is 10,000 pounds of rose granite.

The library has undergone two additions: one in 1964 and the other in 1976.

Notable campus architect Charles Klauder, who is responsible for the Tuscan vernacular style of the red-roofed campus, designed Norlin Library.

Local pink sandstone walls and windows framed with off-white limestone trim are all hallmarks of Charles Klauder's architectural style.

There are 187 desktop computers available for student use.

On an average day, the library sees 6,800 people come through its doors. Wednesday usually is the busiest and Saturday is the slowest.

"Who knows only his own generation remains always a child" appears above the west entrance. It was written by President Norlin and inspired by Marcus Tullius Cicero.

The week before finals, an average of 8,600 people come in per day. During finals week, there are about 4,200 people on average, with about 8,000 on the Monday of finals week.