The Main (Merrill) Library (1930–2006)

Library, probably late 1940s
Library, probably late 1940s (USU A-board 0087)

Built with a $175,000 state appropriation, the new library opened in December 1930.[1] The 30,000-square-foot structure consisted of a basement, plus three floors, and included an attractive, large, open reading room, which could seat nearly 300 students. The closed stack environment could accommodate 80,000 volumes and included booths and study carrels for faculty and graduate students. Offices for faculty in the Departments of English and History, as well as classrooms, occupied the top floor. While the new library was a vast improvement over the previous space in Old Main, it was expected to only accommodate the college’s growth until 1940. Indeed, by 1944 the stacks were filled to capacity and the library was forced to begin decentralizing its collections into a number of satellite libraries.

By 1940, only a decade after opening, the “new” library was full. The History and English Departments still occupied the third floor and the basement remained unfinished. Satellite libraries began appearing in the schools of engineering, education, forestry, and home economics to compensate for the lack of space in the Main Library.

Edited from An Encyclopedic History of Utah State University by Robert Parson, University Archivist.

[1] Student Life (Logan, UT), December 4, 1930.

Architectural Drawings

Photographs of the Main Library

Gallery: The Need for More Space

By 1944, the library had outgrown its space, necessitating the need to store parts of its collections in other locations on campus.