The first library on campus opened with the first classes in University Hall, the only building on campus when the Ohio Agricultural and Mechanical College began in 1873. The library was located on the first floor, right off the main entrance. Students were allowed to withdraw books on Tuesdays and Fridays from 1:30 pm until 2:00 pm. When the library outgrew its space in 1884, it was moved to the east end of the building on the third floor. The library remained in University Hall until 1893.
When Orton Hall was built in 1893, as the first fire-proof building on campus, many felt it was the logical location for the library. The original plans for the library in Orton Hall included two large rooms used for books and reading and three smaller rooms in the basement used for storage. Three years later, in 1896, a gallery was added to the library due to lack of space for students and books. The following year Olive Branch Jones, university librarian, emphasized in her annual report the pressing need for a separate library building. This condition lasted until 1913 when the “New Library” was built. It was officially named the William Oxley Thompson Memorial Library in 1951 in honor of the fifth president of the university. Dedication ceremonies included a lecture by Luther Evans (Librarian of Congress), a band concert, and tours of the library’s new stack tower. The building was expanded in 1951 (stack tower and wings) and again in 1977 (back addition). In 2006, the wings and old back addition were removed. The newly renovated Thompson Library re-opened in 2009.
John H. Herrick Archives: Thompson (William Oxley) Library