Timeline - Libraries at WPI

[Please note: Gordon Library @ 40 is an inactive online exhibit maintained for reference purposes by WPI's Archives & Special Collections. Information contained in the original website was migrated to The Foundry in March 2016.]

1868-1889—Small reference collection maintained in President’s Office; academic departments maintain own libraries.

1889—First official “General Library” established on the first floor of Boynton Hall.

1895—Elizabeth K. Francis appointed first WPI Librarian.

1900-1902—Francis was succeeded by Mary E. [Lincourt], who in turn was succeeded by Con[stance] Smith.

1902—Emily M. Haynes appointed as WPI Librarian and served until 1942.

1914—Library moved into the Old Chapel, third Floor, Boynton Hall.

1920—Library had estimated 15,000 volumes.

1940—Library moved to ground floor of Alden Memorial Hall.

1942—Bonnie-Blanche Schoonover appointed WPI Librarian; named first Librarian Emerita upon her retirement in 1964.

1959-1960—Survey of WPI libraries recorded that the departments of Civil Engineering, Chemical Engineering/Chemistry, Electrical Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Physics maintained branch libraries in addition to the General Library in Alden; all libraries combined housed 44,400 volumes of books and bound periodicals.

1963—Albert G. Anderson, Jr. appointed Head Librarian.

1964—George C. Gordon (Class of 1895) leaves a bequest of $5 million to WPI which the school uses to create a new library to be named after Gordon; all the libraries would be combined into one.

1965—Architects O.E. Nault & Sons selected to design new library; WPI breaks ground on the new library.

1967—Gordon Library is dedicated on October 28; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark van Doren gave address at the dedication ceremony.

1974—Gordon Library became a member of OCLC (Online Computer Library Center) and installed first OCLC dedicated terminal in the Technical Services area to add WPI holdings.

1976—Gordon Library became a member of OCLC Interlibrary Loan service.

1981—Gordon Library became member of Central/Western Massachusetts Library Automated Resource Sharing network (C/W MARS).

1983—Manual shelf list catalog was converted to MARC records (Machine Readable Cataloging).

1985—Gordon Library began transferring older and less-used materials to library storage in Founder's Hall.

1989—Gordon Library online catalog became accessible over the campus network.

1991—Gordon Library online catalog officially replaced old card catalog and eight computer terminals were installed to provide access to online catalog.

1992—Helen Shuster appointed Director of Gordon Library.

1996—Robert Fellman bequeathed his Charles Dickens Collection to WPI.

1996—Compact shelving installed in Founders Hall, expanding library storage from 978 shelves to 2,652.

1996—First collections of electronic journals purchased.

1997—Gordon Library acquired Voyager system to serve as online public access catalog and to manage collections and circulation.

2001—Anderson Instruction Labs opened; the labs are funded through a generous gift from former library director Albert G. Anderson, Jr.

2002—Gordon Library and Higgins Armory collaborated to catalog and make searchable the Armory’s book collection via the Voyager online catalog. Effective July 2002 all WPI master's theses and doctoral dissertations were to be submitted electronically.

2006—Second floor of Library underwent a major renovation that included redesign of reference and circulation desk, creation of new staff offices, creation of new Tech Suites and expanded study space, and creation of the George Gladwin Art Gallery.

2007—Gordon Library celebrates its 40th anniversary. Fall 2007 all undergraduates are required to submit IQP and MQP projects online.

2008—Dr. Tracey Leger-Hornby appointed Assistant Vice President of Library Services.

2009—Roof replaced. Other renovations underway.

Timeline - Libraries at WPI