Duke University Libraries

A desire for knowledge is found at the root of any library's beginnings. In the past 175 years, that desire has driven Duke University Libraries to grow to one of the top ten private university library systems in the nation. The Perkins Library, Bostock Library, and Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, joined with the Lilly, Music, and Pearse Memorial Libraries, form the center of knowledge and discovery on campus. Combined with four libraries separately administered by the Fuqua School of Business, School of Law, Divinity School, and School of Medicine, Duke boasts a network of ten facilities that create a solid foundation for learning and research. This timeline follows the history of Duke's libraries, from the earliest known record proposing the library's creation to today's newly renovated Rubenstein Library which marks the end of the fifteen year Perkins Project.

Timeline created by Jessica L. Serrao, King Intern for Digital Collections, and the Duke University Archives.

Administrative History

1839 – 2015

A desire for knowledge is found at the root of any library's beginnings. In the past 175 years, that desire has driven Duke University Libraries to grow to one of the top ten private university library systems in the nation. The Perkins Library, Bostock Library, and Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, joined with the Lilly, Music, and Pearse Memorial Libraries, form the center of knowledge and discovery on campus. Combined with four libraries separately administered by the Fuqua School of Business, School of Law, Divinity School, and School of Medicine, Duke boasts a network of ten facilities that create a solid foundation for learning and research. This timeline follows the history of Duke's libraries, from the earliest known record proposing the library's creation to today's newly renovated Rubenstein Library which marks the end of the fifteen year Perkins Project.

The Union Institute Society is organized.
The original Union Institute building in Randolph County.

Brown's Schoolhouse, Duke University's predecessor, is formally organized by the Union Institute Society, a group of Methodists and Quakers under the leadership of Reverend Brantley York.

1840 Apr 30
A library is proposed.
Constitution of the Union Institute Society, 1839.

Proposal for a library appears in the minutes of the Union Institute. However, the proposal is not further developed, and does not appear in the minutes again.

The Columbian Literary Society is founded.
Columbian Literary Society, 1910.

Created as a society for lively discussion of literature and philosophical topics, the Columbian organizes their own library complete with a student librarian to track the books.

The Hesperian Literary Society is organized.
Circulation log of the Hesperian Society, 1854.

Members of the Hesperian, like the Columbian, have access to their organization's private library. It, too is run by a student librarian who tracks the books with a handwritten log. The Hesperian's founding spurred a competition with the Columbian to see who could acquire the most books.

1851 Jan 28
The Union Institute becomes Normal College.
Catalogue of the Trustees, Visiters, Faculty & Students of Normal College, 1850-51.

The school is re-chartered by the North Carolina Legislature as Normal College, and its graduates are licensed to teach in state public schools. The following year, the state authorizes Normal College to grant degrees, and the first are awarded in 1853.

Normal College becomes Trinity College.
Trinity College seal.

The institution's name is changed to Trinity College upon affiliation with the Methodist Church. The motto "Eruditio et Religio," meaning "Knowledge and Religion," is adopted.

The Columbian and Hesperian each hold 2,200 volumes.
Hesperian medal signifying membership, 1875.

The collections of the societies grow to 2,200 volumes each with the help of donations and a small number of purchases. These members-only libraries hold limited hours one afternoon a week, or before and after meetings. A general college library of 650 titles is also available for all students.

1861 – 1891
School remains modestly sized and rural.
The last class to graduate from Trinity College in Randolph County, 1891.

The entire student body is seen in this photograph. Despite its small size, the literary society libraries continue to grow, and a theological society also begins a collection.

Libraries merge under President John Franklin Crowell.
John Franklin Crowell, 1897.

Organizational issues and a lack of access by all students calls for a merging of the Hesperian, Columbian, theological, and college libraries to form Trinity College Library. Housed on the second floor of the old Trinity College chapel, the merger increased open hours to 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Crowell is elected Librarian-in-Chief, an unpaid role he holds in addition to that of President.

Stephen B. Weeks is named librarian.
Stephen Beauregard Weeks.

A new history and political science professor, Stephen B. Weeks, takes on the librarian position while Crowell is busy spearheading the college's move to Durham. Weeks is named chairman of the Reading Room Committee.

Trinity College moves to Durham.
An early photograph of Trinity College in Durham. The campus was still under construction, and the gates had not been finished, pre-1902.

Trinity College relocates to Durham after Washington Duke and Julian S. Carr persuade the Board of Trustees to move the college to their progressive "New South" city. Duke contributes $85,000 for buildings and an endowment and Carr donates the site, which is now East Campus.

1892 – 1903
Washington Duke Building is home of library.
Earliest known image of Trinity Library in

After the move to the new Durham location, the Washington Duke Building, known as "Old Main," houses the Trinity Library in its largest room.

1892 Feb 01
Weeks calls for a library strong in historical materials.
Stephen B. Weeks' article in The Trinity Archive, 1892.

Weeks advocates strengthening the library's historical materials in an article titled "The Renaissance: A Plea for the Trinity College Library" published in the student journal,The Trinity Archive. Donations begin pouring in.

1898 – 1939
Joseph P. Breedlove is appointed librarian.
Joseph Penn Breedlove, Head Librarian, 1946.

Breedlove is the first full-time librarian appointed. An 1898 Trinity graduate, Breedlove has no formal librarianship training. President Kilgo, a great advocate of the library,is willing to invest in Breedlove's training and sends him to be educated at Amherst College. Breedlove goes on to serve over forty years as librarian.

A card catalog is created.

During this time, a card catalog is started as the library's collection experiences exponential growth.

James Buchanan Duke donation supports new library.
James Buchanan Duke.

Intrigued by the library project, James B. Duke agrees to build a facility that can hold 100,000 volumes. His donation includes $10,000 for books.

1902 Dec 01
New Trinity College Library is completed.
President John C. Kilgo in robes.

Library materials are moved to the new facility under President Kilgo's supervision. To the chagrin of Librarian Breedlove, the order of the books is disrupted during the move, and it takes three days and nights for he and Professor John Spencer Bassett to restore order.

1903 Feb 01
Dedication ceremony for library building is held.
Trinity College Library.

Journalist, editor, and publisher, Walter Hines Page, delivers the address for the new Trinity College Library dedication. In his speech, Page conveys a message from James B. Duke, who says to "Tell every man to think for himself." The library officially opens February 23rd.

Law Library is created.

The Law Library is first shelved in the same building as Trinity College Library.

Library collection grows to 40,000 volumes.
Main reading room of the 1903 Trinity College Library, ca. 1915.

In just four years of the library's opening, the collection expands to 40,000 volumes.

1910 – 1940
William Preston Few serves as University President.
President William Preston Few in robes.

Prior to his appointment, Few served as the Chairman of the Library Committee and library manager. During his presidency, Few's interest in library affairs remains strong. He advocates for and raises funds to increase the library's collection of southern U.S. history and culture. The library holdings rise from 43,967 to 63,240 during his term.

Library collection reaches 55,000 volumes.
Trinity College Library Vault.

Even with the drastic growth of the library's holdings, it is still nowhere close to the breadth or depth it will need to become a serious research library. Primary and secondary source collections grow sporadically, and many of the historical documents are stored haphazardly in the Trinity College Library's fire-proof vault.

Women gain access to library.
Delta Phi Rho Alpha Sorority, 1924.

Women taking classes at Trinity College are granted full and equal library privileges. They are able to enter the library during its regular hours.

Duke Endowment is established by James B. Duke.
West Campus Library postcard.

The massive infusion of funding allows the library to expand in scale and size, nearly overnight. The plans call for the construction of two new library buildings: one on the original Trinity campus (the Woman's College, now East Campus) and one on the new West Campus (Trinity College for Men). This postcard boasts that the West Campus Library is "expected to be in a few years one of the South’s largest libraries."

East Campus Library groundbreaking.
Construction of the Woman's College Library, 1926.

A new library building is built on East Campus. The structure is designed by Philadelphia firm Horace Trumbauer along with other new buildings on East and the entirety of West Campus. The original Trinity Library building is dismantled and moved to Kittrell College, an historically black institution in Vance County and is renamed the Benjamin N. Duke Library.

Duke Divinity School and library is founded.
Gray Building, Duke Divinity School.

The Divinity School is established and great attention is given to their library collection.

1927 Mar 01
East Campus Library is complete.
Woman's College Library.

Around 100,000 books and card catalogs are moved into the new library, which is equipped with a 100 pound capacity electric booklift. This facility serves as the general library until the West Campus Library construction is complete. After 1930, East Campus Library is known as the Woman's College Library.

1927 – 1928
East Campus Library begins art and artifact collection.

When the old Trinity Library was moved, it displaced the Trinity College Historical Society's museum. Many of the items were placed in the new East Campus Library including, in 1928, a marble bust of Benjamin N. Duke given to the university by his family. R.L. Flowers led the unveiling at a ceremony celebrating Duke's 73rd birthday. These events mark the beginning of what will become the Woman's College Library art collection.

1927 – 1930
Duke Law Library grows.
Freshman class of law students, 1933.

After a period of neglect, the library at Duke's School of Law drastically increases from 4,000 to over 12,000 volumes. It is housed, along with the School of Law, in the Carr Building on East Campus. Around 1930, the Law Library is moved to West Campus into the Law Building.

1928 – 1930
New West Campus library is constructed.
View of the General Library Tower during construction of West Campus, 1928.

Centrally located just north of the Chapel, the new General Library on West Campus plays a major role in the University. During construction, temporary railroad tracks ran parallel to the building to bring Duke stone from Hillsborough, NC.

Woman's College Library becomes art museum.
Barber's Chinese collection in the Women's College Library lower gallery.

In January 1930, two nineteenth century oil paintings are given by businessman C.C. Dula, friend of James B. Duke, and are hung in the Women's College Library. A patron of the fine arts, Dula hopes his gift will encourage development of an art program. This same year, Professor Boyd acquires Margaret L. Barber's art object collection to display at the library, which springboards the library's role as a museum and art exhibition space.

General Library on West Campus opens.
General Library Reference Room, 1930.

The new library opens in the fall and holds about 200,000 volumes, which were moved from East Campus to their new location in only twelve days. This plummets the Woman's College Library's holdings from 100,000 to only 4,000 books.

Medical Library opens.
Davison Building.

The Medical Library opens in the Davison Building with 8,100 square feet of space. This library supports Duke Medicine students, faculty and staff with materials for educational, research, clinical, and administrative activities in the medical field. It houses 35,000 volumes, provides room for 50 patrons, and has two staff members.

1930 – 1934
William K. Boyd is named Director of Libraries.
William Kenneth Boyd.

William K. Boyd, an historian, helps expand the library's special collections, particularly Southern Americana, with funding from William Washington Flowers. Boyd travels the South to gather manuscripts, maps, pamphlets, books, photographs, sheet music, and more to add to the collection.

Delivery system is established between West and East Campus libraries.
Woman's College Library Circulation Desk, 1930s.

After the new General Library depleted the holdings of the Woman's College Library, female students become dependent upon the West Campus library. To remedy this problem, a regular system of delivery is set up between the two campuses to improve access.

1931 – 1932
University allocates over $240,000 to collection development.
Future University President, Robert Lee Flowers, 1925.

Thanks to the generous endowment of the George Washington Flowers Memorial Fund, the library is able to grow even during the Depression, albeit at a slower rate. Duke University's acquisition expenditure for 1931-1932 is second only to Harvard.

Duke begins library cooperation with UNC.
Duke Alumni Register article on Duke-UNC Cooperative, March 1935.

Duke University and the University of North Carolina enter into a cooperative agreement to share collections and thus eliminate duplication of materials for researchers. This marks the early beginnings of what will become the Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN).

Stack permits distributed to seniors.
Librarian Jean Vickers working in the stacks, 1950s.

Previously, library stacks were closed to the public. When in need of a book, students relied on the card catalogs and reference librarians to place requests. The books were then sent via electric booklift to the Delivery Room for pickup. Eight years after the library opens, seniors are given the opportunity to gain access via stack permits.

1940 – 1943
John J. Lund serves as librarian.

Lund serves three years as librarian of the General Library, after previously holding the position of order librarian from 1937-1940. Lund held a library degree from the University of California, and after his term as librarian he returned to California to work in shipbuilding.

1941 Nov 01
General Library runs out of space.
General Library exterior prior to 1948 addition.

The new library rapidly acquires materials and the stacks quickly fill with books. The lack of shelf space forces books to be stacked on the floor. Even worse, over 100,000 books are packed up and stored in the library's hallways and dormitory basements.

1942 Dec 01
Thomas Memorial Room opens at the Woman's College Library.
James A. Thomas Room with Chinese decor.

The James A. Thomas Memorial Reading Room, also known as the Chinese Reading Room, is filled with Asian art and furniture donated by family and friends of James A. Thomas. A personal friend and business partner of the Duke family, Thomas was also a Duke trustee.

1943 – 1946
Breedlove serves as Acting Librarian.

Upon Lund's departure to California, Joseph Breedlove comes out of retirement to become acting librarian. He steps down once Benjamin E. Powell is appointed to fill the position.

1944 Jan 12
Divinity School Library forms a loan system.
Carving of Divinity School logo, Gray Building.

The Divinity School establishes a Loan Library to provide materials on loan to ministers of all denominations. Its holdings of around 36,000 books is the largest collection of religious materials in the South. Within the first fifteen months, almost 15,000 books are loaned to over 3,000 ministers.

1946 – 1975
Benjamin E. Powell serves as University Librarian.
Librarian Benjamin Powell, from Duke University Libraries article, Winter 2001.

Powell is appointed as University Librarian and serves for almost thirty years.

1948 – 1949
General Library is expanded.
Pneumatic tube canisters with call slips.

To combat the lack of space, the library is expanded under Librarian Powell. With an addition on the back of the building, the stacks nearly double in size and the library holdings number over 960,000 volumes. A pneumatic tube system is added that runs from the main loan desk to various levels of stacks. This speeds up the time it takes to process book requests.

1949 Oct 21
Formal opening of new library addition.
Construction of library stacks addition with original 1928 tower, 1948.

Initially, funding for the addition is described as a "gift of an interested friend," but is later revealed that Mary Duke Biddle, daughter of Benjamin Duke, made the contribution. The new addition cost $1.5 million to build. This continues the generosity of the Duke family toward the University Libraries.

Rare Book Room opens.
Rare Book Room, ca. 1949.

Added during the library's expansion, the Mary Duke Biddle Rare Book Room is perhaps the most iconic space in the libraries to this day. This new room offers a more suitable location to show off the libraries' treasures.

Duke campus boasts nine libraries.
Student using the General Library card catalog, 1950s.

During this time, there are nine libraries present on campus: the General Library, the Woman's College Library, the Divinity School Library, the Hospital Library, the Law Library, and departmental libraries for Chemistry, Biology-Forestry, Physics-Mathematics, and the College of Engineering.

1950 Sep 01
General Library's millionth book is added.
The library's one millionth book is added to the shelf, 1952.

The General Library adds its one millionth book to the shelves, Johann Rudolff Ochs' 1711 Americanischer Wegweiser. A gift of the George Washington Flowers Memorial Fund, this book represents a milestone in the library's expansion efforts.

Law School Library outgrows its space.
Law Library, 1949.

The Law School building is now too small to house the Law Library's over 100,000 volumes. Dean McClain receives a commitment of $250,000 from the University Trustees towards a new modern law building.

Film highlights library.

The Alumni Affairs produces a film about Duke University in which the library's role on campus is highlighted. The film is narrated by J. Bradford Craig, a senior and member of Duke Players, and describes the student point of view.

Divinity School and Library are renovated.
Rear half of Divinity Library Reading Room, 1955.

After the $50,000 renovation of the Divinity School building, a new first floor Reading Room under York Chapel opens with 72 seats, and the basement floor is converted into more stacks space. The library's collection approaches 100,000 volumes.

2021 Aug 02
Library catalog cards are photo-duplicated.
Photo duplication of library catalog cards, 1950s.

New photo-duplication technology allows Duke libraries to copy catalog cards. These copies are then exchanged with UNC as part of their 1935 cooperation agreement, and allows both schools to provide students with a richer collection. Later, Duke and UNC are joined in this effort by NC State and NC Central to create the longest running library cooperative in the country.

Woman's College Library is overcrowded.
Woman's College Library Gallery prior to conversion to reserve room, 1947.

To relieve the need for space, the Woman's College Library commandeers the longstanding art gallery room to implement a reserve reading room.

A proposal is made for the General Library expansion.
Books piling up on floor prior to the 1969 library addition.

The General Library once again needs more space. Books and journals begin stacking up on the floors as room becomes sparse. Materials are pulled from circulation to be boxed up and stored, and access again becomes limited.

1958 Nov 01
Divinity School Library doubles in size.
Librarian Donn Michael Farris, 1950.

Since 1950, Duke's Divinity School Library has more than doubled in size under the leadership of librarian, Donn Michael Farris.

1962 – 1963
Law School and Library move to new building.
New West Campus Law Library, 1960s.

The School of Law and the Law Library move into their new building on Towerview Road and Science Drive.

Duke Marine Lab Library is proposed.
Duke University Marine Lab, Pivers Island, Beaufort, NC.

Originally located in three rooms of a wooden frame building, Duke's Marine Lab Library quickly outgrows its space. This causes the library to house valuable materials on the Durham campus 180 miles away from its Beaufort, NC location. Other stacks material at the lab overflows into the reading room and hallways, making the 30,000 volume capacity of the newly proposed library in high demand.

Construction begins on new General Library addition.
Perkins Library, ca. 1970.

Construction on a new building addition promises more space and better access for the West Campus library. It is initially planned with closed stacks. However, at opening the stacks become accessible to students throughout the building, with the exception of the rare books and manuscripts.

1969 Jan 01 – 1969 Feb 01
Books are moved to the new West Campus library addition.
Fraternity members on moving day, 1969.

The Inter-fraternity Council provides over 800 volunteer fraternity men to move books to the new library building. An incentive of $1,000 is offered to the group that contributes the most hours, awarded to Sigma Phi Epsilon. Over weekends in January and February, the circulation department oversees volunteers who donate 6,704 hours to the library and move about 1,250,000 volumes. If professional movers had been hired, it would have cost $40,000.

1969 Feb 01
William R. Perkins Library opens.
Perkins Card Catalog, 1969.

The General Library and addition reopens with a new name. Perkins Library, now the main facility on West Campus, boasts over five times as much space as its predecessor, and can hold 2.5 million volumes. Nestled next to the original library and behind the languages building, Perkins expands the stacks, adds meeting rooms, carrels, and better staff workspace.

Gothic Reading Room opens.
Gothic Reading Room.

Once home to the General Library's reference room, the newly renovated Perkins library reopens the space as a study area known as the Gothic Reading Room.

Perkins Library's two millionth volume is added.
Thomas L. Perkins.

Thomas L. Perkins, son of William R., presents the library with its two millionth volume, Pliny the Elder's 1476 Naturalis Historia.

1970 Apr 15 – 1970 Apr 16
Dedication ceremony for Perkins Library is held.
Perkins Library Dedication Ceremony, 1970.

The new library addition is dedicated to William R. Perkins, a friend and attorney of James B. Duke who helped create the Duke Endowment.

1971 Sep 01
Underclassmen gain access to stacks.
Duke University Library Newsletter announces open stacks, September 1971.

The library stacks are now open to freshmen and sophomores who were previously barred from entering the space.

1974 May 01
Marine Lab's Pearse Memorial Library building is dedicated.
Arthur Sperry Pearse Plaque at Marine Laboratory.

The I.E. Gray Library Auditorium building, home of the Pearse Memorial Library, is dedicated. Named after Dr. Arthur Pearse, founder and first director of the Marine Lab, the library supports the teaching and research efforts of faculty, staff, and students of the Duke Marine Laboratory.

Woman's Library changes name.
Duke University Library Newsletter, September 1974.

The Woman's College Library changes its name to East Campus Library following the Woman's College merger with Trinity College in 1972.

Music Library opens in new Mary Duke Biddle Music Building.
Floorplan of the Mary Duke Biddle Music Building showing Music Library on the east side, 1970s.

Located on East Campus, the new Biddle Music Building opens a Music Library. This library is intended for teaching and research in the areas of musicology, historical performance practice, and composition. The holdings, originally located in the East Campus Library, had to be transfered and recatalogued.

1975 – 1980
Connie Dunlap is appointed University Librarian.
Connie Dunlap, University Librarian, 1970s.

The first year Dunlap is University Librarian, she warns of another space shortage in Perkins Library and the future need for expansion.

1975 Nov 01
Medical Center Library and Archives opens.
Medical Center Library Opens, Duke Chronicle article, November 21, 1975.

The Medical Center Library and Archives opens in the Seeley G. Mudd Building of Duke University Hospital and holds 150,000 volumes. Since 1930, the staff has grown from two to thirty-five and serves a medical community of 4,000 people.

Duke Law Library updates technology.
Duke University Library Newsletter drawing, April 1976.

The first electronic search service becomes available in the Duke Law Library.

Triangle Research Libraries Network (TRLN) is formed.
Duke University Library Newsletter drawing, October 1986.

The TRLN is officially formed through the cooperation of Duke University, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and North Carolina State University. This network of universities bans together to create an online catalog called the Bibliographic Information System (BIS) that allows patrons to search for library holdings via computer terminal.

1979 Oct 01
Bibliographic databases accessible through Dialog.
Technical Services work area prior to computer changeover, 1970s.

One of the most significant technological changes of the 1970s is the move from electric typewriters to computers for acquisitions and material cataloging. The Duke libraries gains access to bibliographic databases through the Dialog service, an online information retrieval system.

Perkins Library's three millionth book is added.
Perkins Library book stacks, June 1983.

The three millionth volume is acquired as a gift from Joseph J. Spengler. The book, a first edition of Thomas Robert Matthus' An Essay on the Principle of Population (1798), marks a growth of one million volumes in just ten years.

J. B. Fuqua donates to School of Business Ford Library.

Industrialist, philanthropist, and statesman, J. B. Fuqua supports construction of the new School of Business building with a $10 million donation. Included is the Ford Library. As a high school student, Fuqua borrowed books from Duke Libraries through the mail, and credited the university with providing his business education. In 1972, he received an honorary degree from Duke.

1980 Sep 01
Perkins Library installs security.
Duke Chronicle article, September 15, 1980.

A new security system is installed to deter theft and book loss. Detection sensors placed in the books will trip an alarm at the door if the books are not checked out properly. Over the previous ten years, more than 19,000 books were unaccounted for.

1980 Oct 01
Stacks take over Perkins reading rooms.
Duke Chronicle article, May 28, 1980.

A number of reading rooms are sacrificed to make way for more stacks space for 120,000 volumes.

Over 1.5 million catalog records are converted from paper to digital.
Duke Online Catalog, 1980s.

Throughout the 1980s, the conversion of the catalog records from paper to digital is planned and executed. As a result, online catalog stations replace the card catalog in Perkins Library.

1985 – 1995
Jerry D. Campbell is appointed University Librarian.
Duke University Library Newsletter article, April 1985.

For the next ten years, Jerry Campbell leads the library through a new era of duality where research libraries must collect and maintain both print and electronic materials via library automation.

Duke Law Library goes online.
Computer stations lining the rear wall of the Law Library.

The Duke Law Library installs an online catalog.

The Special Collections Department is formed.

The Manuscript Department (established 1931) and the Rare Book Department (established 1942) merge to form the Special Collections Department.

An off-site stacks facility is opened.
Student workers move books to the new DOSS facility, Duke University Libraries article, Fall 1989.

The first off-site stacks facility is built to accomodate Perkins Library's exponential growth. Called Duke Off-Site Storage, or DOSS, the building can hold 650,000 books.

1989 – 1992
Duke Law Library gets a facelift.
Law Library book stacks.

The Duke Law Library is renovated to add student seating and install compact shelving. The student computer network is also implemented with 15 terminals.

Duke libraries install automated checkout.
Chairman of the Library Council, John Richards, cuts a ribbon made of call slips to celebrate the new computerized checkout system, November 12, 1990.

To speed up the library's checkout process, an automated checkout system is installed. What took 45 seconds before, now only takes two seconds to scan the book's barcode and send the patron on their way.

1990 Oct 06
East Campus Library is renamed Lilly Library.
Lilly Library on East Campus.

The name change is in recognition of Ruth Lilly's donation toward renovations to the library. Heiress to the Eli Lilly and Company pharmaceutical fortune, Lilly was an avid philanthropist and patron of the arts.

1992 Apr 01
Perkins Library's four millionth book is added.
Duke University Libraries article, Spring 1992.

The four millionth book is added to the library, a 1633 1st edition of John Donne's book, Poems. Yet again Perkins shows a growth of about one million volumes in ten years.

Lilly Library reopens.
Lilly Library interior prior to renovation.

After renovations funded by Ruth Lilly, the Lilly Library reopens as a humanities and visual arts library.

1996 Jun 20
Duke library is pinpointed as weakness of the University.
Raleigh News & Observer article, June 20, 1996.

A News and Observer article asserts that the library is "an ailing organ in an otherwise strong body." This reflects concerns that Duke's libraries are falling behind. They have yet to convert their classification system from Dewey Decimal to Library of Congress, are in need of a renovation and adequate staffing, and struggle to keep up with techonological changes.

1996 – 2005
David Ferriero is appointed University Librarian.
University Librarian David Ferriero.

Prior to his term at Duke, Ferriero spent 31 years at MIT in various positions, including associate director in the library.

Rare Book, Manuscript & Special Collections Library is formed.

The Special Collections Department, designated the Special Collections Library in 1992, is renamed the Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library (RBMSCL).

Funds are allocated for library renovations.
Duke University Libraries article, Spring 1999.

Funds are allocated for the renovation of Perkins Library thanks to support from the Campaign for Duke and the Board of Trustees.

Perkins Library's five millionth book is added.

In only eight short years, the university library integrates another million volumes into its growing collection.

Construction begins on new modular off-site storage facility.
Stacks at the Library Service Center, 2012.

The previous off-site stacks facility, DOSS, built in 1989 is filled to capacity. As a result, the new Library Service Center (LSC) is constructed, which provides expanded storage in climate controlled conditions for both circulating and special collections material. It opens in 2001, and includes a modern automated retrieval system. The LSC also accommodates materials moved offsite during construction and renovation.

2000 Aug 01
The Perkins Project begins.
Provost Peter Lange, 1999.

Provost Peter Lange assembles the Perkins Library Renovation Committee to envision the future design and function of the library. The Committee works with Shepley Bulfinch, a Boston architectural firm, to create a master plan for what is known as the Perkins Project.

Duke Law Library goes wireless.

The Law School begins operating a wireless computer network in the library and the Blue Lounge. By the spring of 2002, wireless networking is available throughout the law building.

A new library is planned.
Southeast section of Bostock Library, 2005.

Plans are drawn up to construct the new Bostock Library north of Perkins Library.

Von Der Heyden Pavillion opens.
The Von Der Heyden Pavilion, 2005.

The Von Der Heyden Pavillion provides a beautiful and functional new space for study and conversation. It opens at the same time as Bostock Library. Named in honor of German immigrant and 1962 graduate, Karl M. Von Der Heyden and his wife, Mary Ellen, they supported its construction with a $4 million donation.

2005 Oct 12
Bostock Library opens.
Bostock Library archway connecting to Perkins Library, 2005.

Thanks to the generosity of Roy and Merilee Bostock, the new five-story library is opened and named in their honor.

2005 – Present
Deborah Jakubs is named University Librarian.
Deborah Jakubs, University Librarian, 2006.

Under the leadership of Deborah Jakubs and the Executive Group, the libraries undergo more dramatic changes to the physical spaces and library services.

2006 – 2008
Perkins Library is renovated.
Conservation Lab temporarily moved to Trent Hall, the old nursing school dorm.

In order to vacate areas under renovation, departments shift to temporary swing space.

2008 Aug 01
Duke Law Library is renovated.

The newly-renovated J. Michael Goodson Law Library includes a re-conceptualized reading room designed to provide easy access to library, computing, web, and media services.

2008 Aug 01
The Link opens.
A classroom in The Link, 2008.

The Link on the lower level of Perkins Library is an expansive teaching and learning center that provides innovative spaces and technologies. It has classrooms, study spaces, a full-service Service Desk, and computer kiosks.

Technical Services moves to Smith Warehouse
Technical Services office space at Smith Warehouse, 2011.

Technical Services moves from Perkins Library to the off-site facility at Smith Warehouse.

The Music Library is renovated.
Music Library seating and workspace areas, 2012.

After renovations, the Music Library reopens with expanded seating and workspace. It also incorporates the previously separate Music Media Center for CDs and DVDs into one contiguous space. The library now holds over 100,000 books, scores, journals, and microfilms, some 30,000 sound recordings, and a growing collection of video materials.

Final stage of the Perkins Project begins.
Entrance to David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, 2012.

Accelerated by a $13.6 million gift from David Rubenstein, the original library building is given a dramatic transformation. The Board of Trustees renames special collections to the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library in his honor.

Renovation work commences on Rubenstein Library.
Gothic Reading Room during demolition, 2013.

To make way for renovations, library administration, staff, collections, and services are moved to temporary swing space in Perkins and Bostock Libraries.

Medical Center Library and Archives holdings grow.

The holdings of the Medical Library grows to over 183,000 print volumes, and over 10,000 linear feet of archival collections. The facility has room to expand to 250,000 volumes.

Divinity School Library is renovated.
Divinity School Library entrance with construction crane, 2013.

The Divinity School Library gets a facelift that includes the reference room, seminar room, reading room and gallery. Currently, the library has over 400,000 volumes concerning religion and related disciplines.

2015 Jan 01
The Edge opens.
The Edge Lounge, 2014.

The Edge, The Ruppert Commons for Research, Technology, and Collaboration, is located on the first floor of Bostock Library. It is designed to meet the growing needs of team-based, interdisciplinary, and data-driven research and provides workspaces, project and meeting rooms, writeable surfaces, and other tools needed for digital scholarship.

2015 Aug 24
Rubenstein Library re-opens.

Renovations to the original West Campus library building are complete. The space is now reopened as the David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library. This marks the completion of the fifteen year Perkins Project.