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The Office of the Director of Libraries was established around 1905 to oversee the administration of the libraries of the University of Maryland. The Office of the Director of Libraries records are of an administrative nature and include correspondence, reports, studies, publications, and budget requests.
This collection is open for research.
Photocopies of original materials may be provided for a fee and at the discretion of the curator. Please see our Duplication of Materials policy for more information. Queries regarding publication rights and copyright status of materials within this collection should be directed to the appropriate curator.
48.75 Linear Feet
The records of the Library Director's Office cover the years 1905 through 1989 with the bulk of the material dating from 1930 to 1975.
The records include library correspondence, staff memos, annual and biennial reports, acquisition records, collection and equipment inventories, survey questionnaires and statistics. Also contained in the collection are budget requests, committee reports and minutes, organizational charts, brochures and pamphlets, drafts of articles, bibliographies, and blueprints of the library buildings.
The records document the growth of the University of Maryland Libraries from their beginnings as a single reading room in the Maryland Agricultural College to the current state-wide library system. Topics found in the collection include the planning of library facilities; acquisition of major collections and individual books and serials; formation of the library administration; development of library personnel policies and library service policies; interactions between the University Libraries and professional library associations, library networks, and state institutions; the effects of the Depression and World War II on the libraries; and the development of automated library services.
Many noteworthy University of Maryland at College Park (UMCP) staff and faculty members, as well as prominent Marylanders, corresponded with the Library Director's Office. In this collection are found letters from C. O. Appleman, Robert A. Beach, Jr., Frank Bentz, C. W. Cissel, Helen M. Clark, Ernest N. Cory, George W. Fogg, and R. Lee Hornbake. Other correspondents include Rev. James J. Kortendick, Albin Kuhn, Theodore McKeldin, Maude F. McKenney, Marie M. Mount, and Alma Preinkert; as well as Marion Robinson, Thomas S. Spence, Nettie Taylor, the Millard Tydings family, Walter B. Waetjin, Louis R. Wilson, Dr. H. Boyde Wylie, and all of the University Preisdents from Silveseter to Elkins. In addition, the head librarians/Library Directors are represented in the files: Frank B. Bomberger, Lulu E. Connor, Miltanna (Rowe) McVey, Grace Barnes, Carl Hintz, Howard Rovelstad, and Dr. H. Joanne Harrar. Until the university re-organization in 1970-71, the Library Director oversaw all university libraries. In 1996, Charles Lowry was hired as Dean of the Libraries on the College Park campus and the title "Library Director" was abandoned. In 2009, Patricia A. Steele became Dean of the Libraries at University of Maryland, College Park.
Ever since the University of Maryland at College Park opened in 1859 as the Maryland Agricultural College, the University has had a library. The Agricultural College began in a single large building which housed dormitories, the mess hall, faculty and administrative office, and lecture halls. The library, called the reading room, was located on the second floor. Students and faculty, who supported the reading room, stocked it with agricultural periodicals and local newspapers. By the 1880s, the reading room was becoming more like a traditional library. According to the 1886-1887 college catalog, the library held not only agricultural periodicals and newspapers, bu also "several hundred valuable books" which supported reference in the Agriculture and General Science departments. In addition to the reading rooms' collection, the New Mercer Literary Society, a student group, owned a collection of 1,500 volumes, and many professors had private libraries.
As enrollment in the Maryland Agricultural College increased, the College expanded both in number of buildings and in number of academic departments. In 1894, the College built a two-story building which housed the gymnasium on the first floor and the library on the second floor. This building, located to the north of Morrill Hall, later became the Dean of Women's building and was torn down in the late 1950s.
Over the next 20 years the library gradually became more central to the College. The 1900-1901 college catalog states that "the college library may properly be regarded as one of the departments of the insitution, as its aid for purposes of reference and its influence upon the mental development of the students must always be felt throughout all courses." The library no longer supported only agricultural and scientific studies, but branched out, as new departments were created, to contain "works of reference, history, biography, essays, poetry and standard works of fiction." Periodicals and books specific to the engineering and chemistry departments, however, were shelved in those departments. The library also began collecting government documents.
In 1901, a temporary Library Committee composed of faculty was created to oversee the library and to select books and periodicals for the collection. One of the committee members, F.B. Bomberger, professor of English and Civics, became temporary librarian. Under his direction the library began cataloging its collection using the Dewey Decimal system. In 1911, the College hired its first full-time worker who was responsible solely for the library when J. Keller Smith joined the College staff with the title of Assistant to the Librarian.
The library, like the College, continued to grow. In 1914, the College library merged with the library of the Agricultural Experiment Station to form a single library under one administrator. The resultant library contained 15,000 volumes and spread into the gymnasium on the first floor of the library building.
Lulu E. Connor was hired in 1915 as the College's first full-time professional librarian. She was succeeded, in 1918, by Miltanna (Rowe) McVey, and by Grace Barnes in 1923. The college catalog of 1917-1918 espoused the library's new philosophy:
"the central, basic idea of the administration of the library is service. It is frankly recognized that the Library should be a laboratory for the use of students, members of the faculty and members of the Experiment Station staff; and everything possible is done to make the Library popular."
The records are organized into the following series and subseries:
The Office of the Director of Libraries records were transferred to the University Archives from 1974 to 1979 by the Library Director's Office. The files of the Library Director's Staff Meetings were transferred in 1990 by the Associate Director of Public Services, University of Maryland, College Park Libraries.
The Office of the Director of Libraries records were divided into seven series and six subseries. Duplicate items were discarded, metal paper clips were removed and replaced by plastic clips, and the materials were placed in acid-free folders and boxes. Blueprints were transferred to oversize storage.
Part of the Special Collections and University Archives