Memorial Library
728 State St.     Built 1950-53, Additions in 1973 & 1988

  • In the late 1940s, the University library was in bad shape. It was sharing a building with the State Historical Society, leaving so little room for the library itself that some books were kept in quonset huts.
  • In 1950, construction began on the new Memorial Library.
  • The pen used by the governor to sign the funding appropriation, along with other souvenirs, was sealed into a time capsule placed behind the building's cornerstone.
  • The new library was dedicated to the men and women who served in the armed forces.
  • A mere two decades later, Memorial Library was full to capacity, and an addition was built. This new addition was designed to accommodate future vertical expansion.
  • This second vertical addition, which included additional stacks, offices, and study rooms, was completed in 1990.

    In 1986 the regents approved an eight story addition to the 1974 section to hold additional book stacks, offices, and study areas. Work began in July 1988. In early November 1988, when the steel framework for the elevator was erected, complaints were heard that the height of the addition would block the view of the capitol from Bascom Hall. After a month of investigations and recriminations, construction was halted by Mayor Joseph Sensenbrenner. The regents explained that building code changes between 1986 and 1988 caused the increase in height. After investigating several options for changing the design, the regents decided to remove the top floor, and increase the capacity of the remaining book stack space by installing electric compact shelving. This addition was completed and went into service in the fall of 1990.