Library History at FSU, Part 2

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In this second installment of Library History at Florida State, we’ll be looking at the trajectory of the Library School since its reorganization in 1947. We’ll also be exploring how Special Collections & Archives has grown since its establishment in 1956.

As mentioned in our previous library history post, the School of Library Training and Service was restructured in 1947 and began offering a master’s degree. In 1967 and 1968 respectively, the school began offering doctor of philosophy degrees and advanced master’s degrees.

In 1981, the new library school building, the Louis Shores Building, was opened and the name of the program was once again changed to the School of Information. The school’s name was changed once more in 2004 to the College of Information. In 2009, the College of Information merged with the College of Communication to become the College of Communication & Information. The college now consists of three schools, the School of Information, the School of Communication, and the School of Communication Science & Disorders, offering both undergraduate and graduate courses on campus and online. The School of Information is an international leader in the iSchool movement and is the only iSchool in the state of Florida. The school offers graduate and specialist degree programs entirely online.

Shores Building, undated
Shores Building, undated, from the Florida Flambeau/FSView Photograph Collection, MSS 2006-012

The department of Special Collections grew rapidly after 1953 with Louise Richardson as the head of the department, a role she would hold until her retirement in 1960. As early as 1962 Special Collections was curating and hosting exhibits using their holdings. By 1964, Special Collections holdings included the McGregor Collection of Early Americana, the Crown Collection of documents, pictures, and manuscripts, an archival collection of photographs of Florida and Floridians, an extensive rare book collection, and the Shaw “Childhood in Poetry” Collection. By this time the library was also a depository for federal documents.

Strozier Library, Special Collections, 1958
Strozier Library, Special Collections, 1958, view this item in the digital library

By 1973, Strozier library contained 1,150,000 volumes, 500,000 government documents, 93,000 maps, and a collection of micromaterials exceeding 700,000. In 1985, the Claude Pepper library was established as the official repository for the Claude Pepper Papers.

Between 1995 and 1996, Special Collections was relocated to its current location on the first floor of Strozier library. The Heritage Protocol program, now known as Heritage & University Archives, was established in 2001 to gather university history related documents and memorabilia.

According to the Special Collections Annual Report for 2003, Special Collections, along with the Digital Initiatives? Center, was already providing digital access to rare Florida materials. The extensive Photographic Archives collection was being used by departments all across campus. 

In the coming installments of Library History at FSU, we will explore the rest of the Florida State University libraries: the Dirac Science Library, the Maguire Medical Library, the College of Engineering Library, the Law Research Center, the Library and Learning Center at the FSU Panama City Campus, and the Allen Music Library.

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Published by Kacee Reguera

Heritage & University Archives Assistant Florida State University

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