Topic: University Libraries

March 25, 2016

Bracken Library image
A student and other employees move books to Bracken Library in September 1975 in preparation for the opening. The library will celebrate its 40th anniversary with an exhibit dedicated to its history, which is open through May 6.

The Alexander M. Bracken Library is celebrating its 40th birthday with the exhibit “Bracken Library: 40 Years of Service, Innovation, and Growth” on its second floor from March 25 through May 6.

The exhibit will open with a public event and refreshments from 1 to 3 p.m. March 25. Welcoming remarks by university and library administrators will begin at 1:30.

The exhibit is organized into a timeline highlighting major developments throughout Bracken Library’s first 40 years, including the automation of the library’s card catalog to allow for online searching, the development of innovative classroom spaces for library instruction, and the acquisition and creation of signature research collections, online databases and technologies. Historical items on display include:

  • original drawings and plans for Bracken Library
  • a 3-D print of the library using the architectural plans for the building
  • historic photographs and digitized film from the library’s early years
  • the library’s 1 millionth addition, a jewel-covered book donated by the Bracken family

The dedication ceremony for Bracken Library, named for Ball State University trustee and benefactor Alexander M. Bracken, took place March 26, 1976. The 320,000-square-foot building was planned with an eye toward the future, designed to support the academic needs of a growing student population by providing a central, flexible library space with ample resources for research and collaborative learning.

Today, University Libraries provides students, faculty and researchers with access to a wealth of diverse print and electronic resources. In its transition to a predominantly digital environment, University Libraries has created a globalized setting for learning and research through infrastructure enhancements that facilitate and promote access to services and collections on and off campus via mobile devices, social media and collaborative platforms.