Warhawk Almanac: Opening of the Library

The construction of Andersen Library began on April 9, 1951 with a formal ground-breaking ceremony that was well attended by students and faculty alike. It featured a variety of speakers including Librarian Edith Knilans, Student Council President Fred Bertolaet, College President Robert Williams, and architect E. H. Berners.[1] The Whitewater State Teachers College (now UW-Whitewater) band performed as well. Williams stressed that his vision for the library was to be “a service station for learning materials.”[2] He went on to explain, “we want to have a place where the college will provide and students can get whatever types of learning materials are available and can be used. I [Williams] think that is what a library building in 1951 ought to have.”[3]

Newspaper image of the library groundbreaking
Many students, faculty, and visitors came for the groundbreaking ceremony.
Whitewater Register, April 12, 1951.

Two years later in the spring semester of 1953 construction had finished and the library opened. Once the library building was complete, the next great challenge was to move all the books from the old library located in Old Main to the new building across the street. The college planned the move for February 25th. To complete this momentous task the college enlisted countless students and faculty to volunteer in creating an assembly line between the two buildings.[4] Thanks to this effort, the move was completed in just one day. President Williams later wrote, “there has never been a finer demonstration of college spirit than on last Wednesday when you [the students] moved out books to the new library building. How else could we have moved all of them in one day?… I’m proud of what happened and of you who did it.”[5]

students move books from old main to the new library
Students helped move books across the street from Old Main to the new library.
Anderson Library Archives and Area Research, Anderson Library, University of Wisconsin – Whitewater, Whitewater, WI. 

[1] “Construction of Library Acclaimed by Guests at Ceremony,” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), April 10, 1951.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Ibid.

[4] “Students and Faculty Asked to Move Book According to Committee Plan,” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), February 24, 1953.

[5] “Thanks Gang!” Royal Purple (Whitewater WI), March 3, 1953.

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One Response to Warhawk Almanac: Opening of the Library

  1. Spudart says:

    The students formed an assembly line to move all the books in one day? That’s incredible!

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