Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Tulane Library (1966)

In June 1966, The Times-Picayune reported on the construction of the new $6.2 million Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Anticipating an August 1968 completion, library director Robert L. Talmadge emphasized that the library would provide easy access to books and be re-organized according to a subject-based divisional system:

"'Traditionally, libraries were considered primarily storehouses for books, and librarians chiefly their guardians. This concept led to the core bookstack where most of a library's collections were locked up, creating barriers between books and the general reader.

'By sharp contrast, the importance of wide and intensive use of library resources argues for the readiest possible reader access to books. Thus, in the new Tulane library all of the regular collections will be on open shelves, freely available to every reader. Special resources such as rare books and manuscripts will of course be located in a separate section under the supervision of librarians.'"

As the construction was underway, Talmadge defined a structural and administrative reorganization according to three divisions: science-engineering, humanities-fine arts, and the social sciences, the latter including government and policy documents. With this scheme, it was felt that researchers could go to a singular place for books, journals, microfilm, pamphlets and reference materials.

Funds for the new library came from two sources: the Tulane Forward Fund and a federal grant made under the Academic Facilities Act of 1965. New Orleans architects Nolan, Norman and Nolan designed the four-story structure with foundations to support an expansion of four additional stories. They  devised the library's plan according to recommendations from Harvard librarian Keyes Metcalf (1889-1983), who authored the 1965 book, Planning Academic and Research Libraries.

If you want to read about the NEW Howard-Tilton Memorial Library building project currently underway, click here.

Quoted matter above:  "Tulane Library Gets Under Way." The Times-Picayune 30 June 1966.

Image above: B. Samuels, photographer. Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. 7001 Freret Street, New Orleans, LA.  Progress photograph. 1 December 1966. Nolan, Norman and Nolan, architects. William T. Nolan Office Records, Southeastern Architectural Archive, Special Collections Division, Tulane University Libraries.

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