Hatcher Showcase
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History 1900 to 1949 History
1890-1910 The Library's growing collections, which reached 200,000 volumes by 1905, combined with the University's increased number of students and expanded curriculum contributed to a lack of adequate space. The Library made internal changes, such as rearranging the seating, to accommodate more students.[11]
New Library building
1920: New Library building completed
1905 Theodore Koch, Librarian from 1905-1915, established an over 6,000 volume collection of reference works. Koch also prioritized students' knowledge of the library and its resources and, along with creating library orientation and education sessions, he reinstated student borrowing privileges. [10]

Joseph Labadie, a Detroit anarchist, donated his personal library to the University of Michigan. This library, which consisted primarily of anarchist materials, was the beginnings of the Labadie Collection. This collection is still growing today and is part of the Special Collections Library. [10; 13]


Due to its wood construction, the General Library building was declared a fire hazard by the Board of Regents. The State Legislature appropriated funds for the construction of a new Library building to be designed by the esteemed architect Albert Kahn. [18; 10]

1920 The new Library building (now North Hatcher) was dedicated on January 7. The final cost for construction was $645,000, about 25 cents per cubic foot. The low cost was in part due to architect Albert Kahn's adaptation of architectural techniques used primarily in factory construction. The building was 177 feet long, 200 feet wide, four stories high and had an estimated capacity of 1,000 readers and 1,000,000 volumes. R.R. Bowker, editor of Library Journal, gave the principal address at the dedication. An excerpt from his speech:
  "We think of research as rather a matter high in the air, but there is, after all, nothing more practical; and today the organization of the American library system is thoroughly adapted to this idea of research."[7]

The University's Papyrus Collection was started in 1920 when Professor Francis Kelsey returned from Egypt with 617 papyri. The University continued to fund expeditions, sometimes collaboratively with institutions such as the British Museum. The Library's collection of papyri was soon the largest in the Americas and it continues to grow today. [10]

1923-1924 William Warner Bishop, who joined the University of Michigan as a librarian in 1915, undertook a project to reclassify a majority of the Library's collection from the Dewey Decimal System to the Library of Congress Classification System. [10] In the Graduate Library today, only the Literature collection remains in the Dewey Decimal System.
1940 At this point, the card catalog had 2,000 trays and 1.75 million cards. [12]
Post 1945 The space problem in the Library worsened when enrollment sharply increased as a result of soldiers returning from the war and enrolling in college. [10]
1947 Position of Chief Bibliographer was created and Rolland C. Stewart was the first appointee.[14] Librarians assumed all collection development responsibilities. Previously, each academic department had a budget for the selection and purchase of books and journals. [10]
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