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A Brief History - Oklahoma State University Library

While the Edmon Low Library building has only been here since 1953, OSU has had a library since the institution began. For several years the Library collection was housed in various homes and office of the University faculty. It wasn't until 1894 that the Library found its first official home in Old Central. The Library shared a single room with the English department.

Old Central - the first home of the OSU Library
Williams Hall - the second home of the OSU Library

Seven years later, Williams Hall was completed and the Library moved to a room on the first floor. Its 1,610 square feet seemed spacious at the time. Williams Hall was one of the first structures on campus to have electricity, so students could now study in the evening.

In 1921, the first building devoted solely to the Library was completed. It was simply called the Library Building and was located south of what is now Gundersen Hall.

The Library Building - the third home of the OSU Librar
Edmon Low Library - the current home of the OSU Library
President Henry G. Bennett came to campus in 1928 and developed a Twenty-Five Year Plan for campus development. The plan called for the campus to center around a new Library. President Bennett worked closely with then Library Director Edmon Low to make the plans for the new Library a reality. The pair toured other university libraries and reviewed plans for the new building as it developed. It is even rumored that they were moving markers in the middle of the night before the ground breaking in 1950.

In 1953, the Edmon Low Library, with its elegant Georgian style, opened and quickly became a focal point for campus pride.

Roscoe Rouse, Jr. succeeded Edmon Low as university librarian upon his retirement in 1967. Rouse brought years of experience in library administration to OSU. He is best known for bringing mechanization of library routines and information services to the Library. He is also the author of A History of the Oklahoma State University Library for the OSU Centennial History Series.

The Library moved into the electronic age when Edward R. Johnson became dean of libraries in 1987. One of the first milestones was the implementation of PETE, the Library's first online information system. It provided information about the Library's 1.7 million volumes and became more powerful as new databases were added.

Today, under the guidance of Dean of Libraries Sheila Grant Johnson, the OSU Library is building a reputation for embracing new technology while maintaining a foundation of quality service. The OSU Library was an early adopter of several innovative search products. As a result, OSU served as one of two development partners for Summon, which powers Google-like searching across all Library collections. Summon goes live at the OSU Library in fall 2010.