Ursuline News

From the Archives: The Library Over the Years

The original library on our Walnut Hill campus was in Cass Hall.

A few things to note about the below photo: the collection was not accessible to the students—notice the shelving located in a room behind the circulation desk. Also notice the prominent sign requesting, “Silence."

As I comment often when I am conducting library orientation sessions, we strive for “Quiet," but with over 850 teenage girls on the premises and collaboration a key component of education in the 21st century, “Silence” seems an unattainable goal!

In 1985, the Beatrice M. Haggerty Library was completed providing space for students and the growing physical collection. The original design aesthetic borrowed from popular Southwest colors: sage green and burnt orange.

In this photo, Mrs. Haggerty is pictured with a student working at a computer terminal prior to the adoption of the one-to-one laptop program at UA. Note the large CPU, monitor, and keyboard all supplanted eventually by our current sleek Microsoft surface laptops.

A renovation of the Haggerty Library took place in 2003.

Key goals for the remodel included technology management, reducing the height of the shelving to allow for more light, replacing the open-backed metal shelving with closed wooden shelving to provide noise muffling, and making the library even more welcoming to the students. Furnishings were chosen with student needs in mind: tables and chairs for collaboration, study carrells for individual focus, and comfortable soft seating for casual study. Colors were chosen to project a warm and welcoming feel.

In subsequent years, minor changes to the library have occurred. The library conference room which housed heritage items and a conference table was converted to a classroom for information literacy and research skills instruction. The workroom was set up as a Senior-only space to accommodate additional students.

Then, ahead of the current major construction happening on campus, the library space was reconfigured to accommodate the offices previously occupying St. Ursula and St. Joe’s. Attention was paid to maintaining the library’s welcoming feel. Shelving was adapted for easy student access. The circulation desk was replaced with a more compact desk placed front and center. The 2020-2021 school year has also seen COVID-19 protocols imposed in the library—plexiglass shielding was introduced and seating has been limited.

As the East campus is completed and occupied and changes occur in COVID-19 protocols, the library staff looks forward to seeing how student behavior drives the adaptation of the library spaces. The library truly remains in the heart of the Ursuline campus with librarians poised to continue to meet the needs of the Ursuline students.