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History of the Library: Library History & Renovation

An informational guide on the library's history.

The History of the Library

Carnegie Hall Library as seen in 1910 on Tusculum's campus

Carnegie Hall Library, 1910

From Glimpses of Tusculum: A Pictorial History of Tusculum College by Donal Sexton and Former Library Director Myron "Jack" Smith:

When Dr. Gray moved into his ground floor McCormick Hall office, the library and it’s 8,500 volumes were located above him on the second floor. As a result of inquiries addressed to steel tycoon Andrew Carnegie, who was then providing library buildings throughout the country, the college received funding for construction of a new library in 1910. It is interesting to note, however, that when the building was opened as Carnegie Hall, it was more a multi-purpose facility than a library. The manner of its original interior design has been maintained. The institution, consequently, now possesses a library of unique and admired internal appearance.

As one entered the building 70-80 years ago, he or she found the large rooms on the left and right, which are today the offices of the director and the public services & technical librarians, were then classrooms, which also provided space for various Christian, literary, and other organizations to hold their meetings. That is now the main reading room served as a gymnasium which, during the season, hosted intercollegiate basketball games. The basement below featured showers, lockers, storage, and even a concession stand/snack bar.  Spectators for games were seated mostly on the indoor running track which circled the gym. Proudly retained, it is today, so far as can be determined, the only such architectural feature now in an American library. The library itself, moved over from McCormick Hall, was initially contained in one of the two large rooms on the second floor.

Between 1927 when a new gymnasium building was finished and the early 1930s when the first renovation was completed, the functions of the library gradually came to absorb all of Carnegie Hall, which became known as Carnegie Library. By 1939, the library boasted 16,000 volumes, two librarians, and numerous student assistants. Electronics were added in 1942 with the purchase of two phonographs, a new concrete west wing stack area was opened in 1961, and the first computer came in 1982. The remaining second floor office and the last classroom were turned over to the library during the late 1960s. By the 1990s, the library held in excess of 100,000 volumes in paper/microform format. On October 11, 1991, the library was rededicated in honor of Albert Columbus Tate, valedictorian of the 1894 Centennial class and father of Edna Tate Smith of Tallahassee, Florida, a trustee of Tusculum College, in recognition of her generous support as the fourth Benefactor in the long history of the College.

Sexton, Donal J. and Smith, Myron,  J. “Jack” Jr. Glimpses of Tusculum A Pictorial History of Tusculum College (Missouri: Walsworth Publishing Co., 1994) 30-31.

This excerpt about the move was taken from the January 2003 issue of the library newsletter, Reel 'n Page (Vol. Xii, no. 4):

"In 1910, the original Tate (which didn't become Tate until 1991) was built as a multi-purpose building and gym and was known as the Carnegie Bldg. (yes, Andrew C. gave cash for its construction--actually it was his secretary who turned over the money, the Scot never handled such details himself--he only approved lists of towns and groups to receive his largess). That's how we came to have the running track, the large room below it (basketball court which became the reading room), and even the basement snack bar, which eventually was turned into storage. The library was moved over from McCormick and occupied Rms. 1 & 2 upstairs. In 1928, Pioneer Gym was completed and the indoor athletic activities were transferred down there--and the library took over the previous basketball/running space and eventually all of Carnegie. Now, 75 years later, the library has moved into a gym for the second time!"

Thomas J. Garland Library, 2023

The Internet came to the library in 1996, the same year in which it joined the Central Library consortium of the Appalachian College Association.  New online databases began to appear regularly and within 15 years, the total exceeded 50, in addition to nearly 200,000 e-books.  Ground was broken on  October 11, 2003  for the upgrade of Tate Library and over the next two  years, the facility had a temporary home in Pioneer Gym, where it was known as Pioneer Library. The library was transferred back into the newly renovated edifice in the summer just in time for the opening of the 2005-2006 school year.  A Grand Opening celebration was held on September 23, 2005, at which time the building was temporarily named The Library at Tusculum College. The title was officially changed to The Thomas J. Garland Library during the formal dedication ceremony on May 16, 2008.

History Of Tusculum Books

Library History Timeline

  • 1910. First library home after moving from a room in McCormick Hall.. Known as Carnegie Hall.
  • 1927. Known as Carnegie Library after departure of gym to their new facility.
  • 1991. The facility was renamed Albert Columbus Tate Library in October, 1991..
  • 2003. During renovation, the library relocated to the gym and was known as Pioneer Library.
  • 2005. Upon return to renovated and expanded building, facility was known as The Library at Tusculum College.
  • 2008. Formal dedication took place on May 16, 2008. The name was officially changed to The Thomas J. Garland library.