Center for Archival Collections

Archival Chronicle

March 2007: Volume 26, Number 1

Jerome Library Celebrates 40 Years | Archival Chronicle Index | CAC Homepage

"Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and take for granted... but to weigh and consider." --Sir Francis Bacon

Quotation above the front door of the Bowling Green State University Library, dedicated 1927.

Outside and Inside

Library of Bowling Green State University, 1927-1967

Dedicated November 19, 1927
Architect: Herbert B. Briggs, State Architect and Engineer
General Contractor: Watts & Suhrbler Company, Toledo, Ohio
Cost--Building $275,000
Cost--Equipment $75,000
1st Floor--stacks (non-public), receiving, checkroom, staff room, freshman study, classrooms, mechanical
2nd Floor--stacks (non-public), reading room, delivery corridor, offices for cataloger and librarian
3rd Floor--four classrooms and office, south side of building

BGSU Library, 1927 - 1967

Architect's Design, William T. Jerome Library, 1967-

William T. Jerome Library, 1967 -

Architect: Carl E. Bentz, State Architect
General Contractor: Knowlton Construction Co., Bellefontaine, Ohio
Cost--Building $4,614,000
Floor use in 1967:
1st Floor--undergraduate library
2nd Floor--bibliographies, reference, honors student study
3rd Floor--government documents, processing
4th-8th Floors--research collections, classrooms

Main Reading Rooms (Old library, at right; Jerome, at left)  

Different ideas of "comfortable study space" are evident in these views, separated by some fifty years.

Reading Area, 1st Floor, Jerome, ca. 2000Main Reading Room, Old Library, ca. 1950s
Study Area, Jerome, ca. 2005

Foyer of Jerome Library, 1967, 1990s 

The foyer was open and inviting in the summer of 1967, but cold winds blew through all winter long; by the 1990s, computer terminals for catalog and internet access filled the space.

Foyer, Jerome Library, 1967Foyer, Jerome Library, 1990s

Cataloging and Circulation

Catalogers took advantage of the latest technology

The cataloger's job is to make it easy for users to find the right book. The librarian of the 1940s relied on her shelf list cards (the cabinet in the foreground) and printed references. Cris Plotts used a specialized computer for cataloging in the mid-1980s

Main Reading Room, Old Library, ca. 1950s

Searching the Catalog 

Whether researchers must request books from staff or can find them themselves, a search through the catalog tells what books the library owns. Computers have made searching faster, but studying remains the same.

Checking the Card Catalog, 1950sChecking the card catalog, ca. 1980
Computer access replaces the card catalogStudent relaxing in open stack reading area

Finding Books

At left, students of the 1940s filled out call slips to hand to library assistants who then retrieved the books and delivered them to the student's reading room location. Today, students can browse the open stacks of the main collection and find a convenient study space nearby.

Students filling out call slips to retrieve books from closed stacksStudenr worker retrieving books from stack area

Book check-out

The window bars, at left, tell students that the books are valuable. Convenience and openness are hallmarks of modern circulation desks.

Book check-out, 1940sJerome circulation desk, 1967

Reference and Other Services

Reference Desk

Librarians strove to make the reference desk approachable. However, the desk at far left is so small that the staff member was often overlooked. The larger furniture style puts the staffer at eye-level and can accommodate several librarians, their computers, and a host of resources for quick answers.

Jerome reference desk, ca. 1980sJerome Reference Desk 1990s

Classes in the Library 

Classrooms were designed as part of the original library building. When these were taken over by library needs, an addition was built to provide more classroom space. Classroom space was included on each of the upper floors of Jerome Library, and informal room was included for special activities like the Reading and Writing Lab in the 1970s.

Classroom in old libraryReading/Writing Lab in Jerome Library

Instruction and Curriculum Support

Libraries provide group and personal instruction. At left, a librarian is explaining the use of the Educational Resources Information Center (ERIC) to students.  At right, the librarian assists a student as she gets acquainted with the online catalog.

Instructing a class in using E.R.I.C.Assisting a student with an online computer

The Reserve Room (at left) provided convenient access to non-textbook publications required for coursework. Today, much of this work is provided for with online services.  With the advent of computers, the old typing room was replaced with a computer lab (at right).

Reserve RoomComputer Lab

The Electronic Reading Room provided a quiet location for students to use resources available through the internet. The room also doubled as a classroom for instructional sessions to teach about the use of online library resources. Many changes in technology and resources have taken place in the short time since these photographs were taken.

Electronic Reading Room



By 1952, the University was purchasing microfilm for research use. Clearly, even a small addition to the old building was not enough to accommodate the huge amount of space that would be taken up in storing back issues of newspapers and periodicals. In publicity photos taken at the time, the two reels of microfilm (seen outside their boxes) sit on top of the bound newspaper volumes they replace. They sit on cabinets which will hold years worth of such volumes. A student (below, left) inspects a new microfilm reader in the early 1950s.

Microfilm takes less space to store
Student Comparing microfilm readersResearchers using microfilm readers
Microfilming documents

By the 1990s (above, at right), the same style of reader was still in use in the library. Here, the CAC's microfilm room also has a reader that can print copies (seen at left of photograph)--a valuable service for genealogical researchers.

Since the mid-1970s (at left), the CAC has been producing microfilm of northwest Ohio government documents and newspapers.

Other Formats

The photocopier has probably been one of the two greatest labor-saving devices in student research. At right, a student in the early 1960s checks her photocopy--a black page with white print. Later copiers printed a normal-looking page and could enlarge and reduce the image as needed.

Photocopying, early 1960s

Microcards (seen here, at left--printed on a cardstock) and micofiche (a photographic image on a film base) can reduce an entire magazine issue to a single card. Special readers (at right) allow users to read the text and navigate from page to page.

Microcard showing complete magazine issueMicrofiche reader

Slide and movie projectors have been replaced by equipment that allows computer data to be displayed (at right).

Projection Equiptment

Sight and Sound

Computers made more library materials available to more researchers, but it took dedicated equipment, like this keyboard for the visually impaired (ca. 1990s), to make the computers truly available to students with special needs.

Keyboards for the visually impaired

The study of music requires students to listen to a wide variety of recordings. The Music Library and Sound Recordings Archives' Listening Center (at middle) allows students to concentrate on their assignments without disturbing others. The secret is the control room, where the recordings are sent to the appropriate listening station and security copies of holdings can be made.

Listening CenterListening Equiptment

Specialized Collections and Services

How Things Change...

Rare books were kept in special locked bookcases before 1968. Today, these books can be used in the Center for Archival Collections.

Locked cases for rare books, ca. 1950s
Honors Student reading room, ca. 1967

When Jerome Library opened in 1967, Honors Students had a special reading lounge, located on the second floor. Note the library mural visible through the glass wall. Today, the second floor is occupied by administrative offices, cataloging and acquisitions, and the Curriculum Resource Center.

Career Library, ca. 1995

A Career Library was established in the late 1980s in the Student Services Building, next door to the Career Planning and Placement Offices. The staff assisted students with resume writing, job hunting, and research about career options. Today, many of these services are available through online programs.

The circulation desk in the Ogg Science Library was visible from its main stairway. Located on the second and third floors of the Math Science Building, this special service point opened not long after Jerome Library and closed in June 2009.  Service for these materials is now at Jerome Library.

Ogg Science Library

The Curriculum Resource Center

On the second floor of Jerome Library, the Curriculum Resource Center provides future teachers with an example of a school library collection, as well as with resources for their class assignments. At left are some of the puppets that can be used in classroom work. Library work goes on (at right) as students help prepare books for adding to the collections.

Curriculum Resource Center Puppet CollectionCurriculum Resource Center Help Desk

Some Things Stay the Same...

Space is always at a premium in the Music Library & Sound Recording Archives. Here Bill Schurk locates a recording needed by a researcher.

Music Library & Sound Recording Archives Vinyl Collection
Popular Culture Library Before RenovationThe odd shapes and sizes of the artifacts in the Browne Popular Culture Library (seen here before the reference area was remodeled) are a special challenge.

It's All about the Researcher

The access point for Historical Collections of the Great Lakes and Rare Books and Special Collections, the Center for Archival Collections welcomes researchers from on campus and from around the world. With holdings ranging from the Civil War to Women's Studies to local government records, we enjoy helping our researchers find the information they need.

Steve Charter Assisting ResearchersCAC Reference Area

THE PHOTOGRAPHS IN THIS ISSUE illustrate library services at Bowling Green State University during the 20th century.
Source:  University Archives Photograph Collection.