Centennial Perspectives

BGSU Libraries

BGSU University Library History

When Bowling Green began as a teacher training institution in 1914, there were no buildings on the campus. Classes met at the armory and a small library was housed in the basement of the Methodist Church. James Robert Overman, then an instructor in mathematics, was in charge of the original group of books. From 1915 to 1927 the library consisted of a large room on the third floor of the "new administrative building" which is today University Hall. Marie E. Simpson served as the librarian from 1915-1918, followed by Mabel E. Marshall from 1919-1920.

In 1921, Ethel M. Blum became librarian and headed the library until 1938. During Ms. Blum's administration, contracts were let for the construction of a new library (now McFall Center) which cost $275,000 and was equipped for $70,000. The library was occupied in the fall of 1927 and was dedicated on November 19, 1927.

In 1943, Dr. Paul F. Leedy was appointed librarian and remained so until 1961. In 1951-1952, a small addition was built at the back of the original library building to permit the construction of critically-needed spaces for stacks, offices and study areas.

Dr. A. Robert Rogers was appointed librarian from 1962-1968. During his tenure Bowling Green State University opened its new $4.5 million library which was built with the expectation of enhancing the university's educational climate. The dedication for this library was held on November 3 and 4, 1967.

At the time of dedication, the new library held approximately 500,000 books and government documents. The towering structure was financed by a $3.4 million appropriation from the 1963 state bond issue and a $1.1 million federal grant. The library was designed for a book capacity of 640,000 and a seating capacity of 2,300 persons.

Librarians/Deans of Libraries and Learning Resources/University Libraries

  • Dr. James R. Overman (Acting Librarian), 1914-1915
  • Marie E. Simpson, Librarian, 1915-1918
  • Mabel Marshall, Librarian, 1919-1920
  • Ethel M. Blum, 1921-1938
  • Edwin Low, 1938-1940
  • Kenneth Cameron, 1940-1941
  • Dr. Frank C. Ogg (Acting Librarian), 1941-1943
  • Dr. Paul F. Leedy, 1943-1961
  • Dr. A. Robert Rogers, 1962-1968
  • Dr. Richard Carpenter (Acting Librarian), 1968-1969
  • Melville Spence, 1970-1977
  • Julia Woods (Acting Librarian), 1977-1978
  • Dr. Dwight F. Burlingame, Dean of Libraries & Learning Resources, 1978-1986
  • Dr. Rush G. Miller, 1986-1994
  • Dr. Dennis East (Interim Dean), 1994-1995
  • Dr. Linda S. Dobb, 1995-1999
  • Dr. Lorraine Haricombe, 2000-2006
  • Thomas Atwood, 2007-2009
  • Sara Bushong (Interim Dean), 2009-2010
  • Kay Flowers, 2010-2011
  • Sara Bushong, 2011-

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