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The New "Libe"

Ivy Day, 1909.

Members of the class of 1909 are shown here in front of the new library building on Ivy Day. At this time only the outside of the library was completed; the inside rooms and stacks were still under construction.

Library exterior front view, c1909.

The new library was opened on November 29, 1909. Apparently painters and carpenters were still in the building, but President Seelye said in a chapel address that “the only way to drive them out was for the college to move in.” The College’s library books had been moved from the Seelye Hall library during Thanksgiving recess. The Browsing Room and the second floor reading room were not yet completed, but the first floor reading room was furnished and open for use.

Smith College Library, October 1910.


This photograph shows the front exterior of the new library building in the fall of 1910.


The upper campus of Smith College, 1910.

The new library building is to the far left in this photograph from 1910. Seelye Hall is on the far right and Hatfield House is shown, in its new position after being moved to make space for the library, in the center.

Stacks in main floor, c1909.


This photograph shows the first floor stacks and the closed front doors. According to library regulations, undergraduate students were not allowed to browse the stacks except by “special permission for a specified time.”

Smith College Library Regulations, 1909. Leaflet 2.


A new leaflet of Library Regulations was printed in November 1909 when the library opened. (Please click on the image to see additional pages of this document.)



Students' Hand-Book of Smith College, 1910-1911.


This student handbook from 1910 included a map with the location of the new library building and a copy of the Library Regulations. (Please click on the image to see additional pages from the handbook.)



Browsing Room, c1910.


The student response to the new library building was very positive; for the first time in the history of the college the students had an entire building dedicated to books and study. Marjorie Browning, class of 1910, wrote to a friend a few weeks after the building opened:

Our new library is finished and in use. You should see it! It is a magnificent substantial building, very artistically finished in brown mission style within. There is so much room in it that we were lost for several days. One room which is not ready yet is the “browsing-room.” As the name suggests, it is to contain well-bound interesting books to be read in front of the open-fire or on the comfortable window seats or cozy chairs about the room.