British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone once said, "Books are delightful society. If you go into a room and find it full of books -- even without taking them from the shelves they seem to speak to you, to bid you welcome." Gladstone's thoughts exemplify the welcoming atmosphere of the John C. Hodges Library and the James D. Hoskins Library on the University of Tennessee campus.
This year UT is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Hodges Library's remodeling and the 75th anniversary of Hoskins Library's opening, and both libraries are being recognized for their 100th year as federal depository libraries.
The annual library development review, composed by UT library archivist Aaron Purcell, is an overview of the history of the libraries. It contains fascinating photos and information about important people who contributed to the libraries' successes.
The review also provides information about the creation of Hoskins Library and its influence on the UT campus today.
James Hoskins served as a UT faculty member, dean and president. In 1950, the "library building" was named the James D. Hoskins Library. Nine years later, a $1 million extension was added to the facility. The extension included more workspace for staff, space for library collections and reading rooms for certain subjects.
The building is a gothic structure that includes pointed arches, vaulted ceilings and large windows.
By 1983, Hoskins Library was unable to handle the needs of a new age. The library's holdings had grown to 1.6 million volumes, 3 million manuscripts and more than 17,000 periodicals.
The growth led to the remodeling of Hodges Library in 1984. Today, Hoskins is a library that holds special collections and rare printed pieces. Even though Hodges is now UT's main library, Hoskins is still considered a quiet and comfortable place to study and search for historical information.
According to the library development review, in 1969 UT dedicated the undergraduate library to John C. Hodges, professor of English. Within a decade, UT administrators and faculty wanted to extend the building and the legislature approved $400,000 for library construction. In 1983, the board of trustees decided to add 250,000 square feet to the Hodges library. The addition provided enough space for 1.7 million volumes, thus creating a facility that was capable of serving students and the community.
A librarian who has worked in the circulation department for 30 years remembers the remodeling of Hodges and that at one point during the construction period "a huge mud hole with little plumbing and at least two columns left" from the undergraduate library were all that remained.
The construction now includes limestone columns, oak ceilings, seven acres of carpeting in "the stacks" (the third through sixth floors) and Spanish and Italian marble floors.
Hodges Library was completed in the fall of 1987 and, like Hoskins Library before it, the expanded facility became UT's main library.
Today, the nearly $29 million facility is Tennessee's largest library, occupying 350,000 square feet. Students may study in "the stacks," rent rooms and laptop computers or purchase Starbucks coffee while studying for exams.
Hoskins and Hodges are two of the 1,200 libraries celebrating anniversaries of becoming Federal Depository libraries.
On March 1, 1907, under the provisions of the Nelson Amendment, the libraries entered the Federal Depository Library Program, allowing them not only to hold government documents, including congressional and executive publications, but to make them available to the public.
In early March, Hodges and Hoskins received a commemorative plaque from the U.S. Government Printing Office to honor the university's century-long participation in the program.
According to Janette Prescod, UT government documents librarian, the library staff is developing plans to acknowledge the 100th anniversaries of both libraries with a ceremony that will take place between August and October.
The library also has planned various displays and workshops throughout the year to celebrate. There will be a webcast on March 19 sponsored by an organization called OpenTheGovernment.org to embrace the concept of government publications being open to the community.