How do you determine the starting date of the University of Cincinnati Libraries when from the university’s founding in 1819, books played an important part in the education of students?
As early as 1875, a collection of books could be found in the various classrooms of University Building (now McMicken). These materials were selected for daily reference use and were acquired through various departmental funds. In 1883, a small working library was established in the Academic Department (College of Liberal Arts). However, it is in 1892 that the Libraries were officially recognized as a distinct administrative unit of the university by the Board of Directors (as the Trustees were called at the time) with the naming of a dean and the establishment of a separate general library apart from small departmental libraries maintained by faculty members. William Everett Waters, professor of Greek and comparative philology, was appointed the first Dean and University Librarian and would serve until 1894. Thus, 2017 marks the 125th anniversary of the University of Cincinnati Libraries.
To mark the occasion of our 125th anniversary, we have compiled an exhibit of photographs of the libraries past and present – from the first library in Van Wormer to the stately Blegen Library to Langsam Library, UC Libraries have changed considerably in 125 years.
The photographs are also on display in the 5th floor lobby of the Walter C. Langsam Library. They are from the collections of the Archives and Rare Books Library
and UC Libraries Communications Department.