Alfred University’s library was established in 1881 to support the curricula and general program of the private sector of Alfred University. Located in a small room under the belfry of Alumni Hall, its continuous growth, through the years, has necessitated additional space. It was enlarged in 1887 and moved to the second floor of Kenyon Hall, located where the Powell Campus Center now stands.
After many pleas from President Boothe C. Davis, and a request by Melvil Dewey (an AU student in 1870), Andrew Carnegie agreed to fund a library building for AU, resulting in the construction of The Carnegie Library on Main Street in 1912. Dedicated in 1913, Carnegie Library served AU well until the collection outgrew its space during World War II.
Margaret Brown Herrick, to honor her husband, AU Trustee John Pierce Herrick, donated $500,000 for the construction of Herrick Memorial Library, built in 1956 and dedicated in June 1957. In 1978, Herrick Library was enlarged with an eastern wing, built to honor AU President M. Ellis Drake.
The most recent building renovation, completed in 2007, was made possible thanks to the generous support of an anonymous donor, the Booth Ferris Foundation, the Fred L. Emerson Foundation, Inc., the family and estate of John P. Herrick, and Judith C. Leondar '52, for whom the Leondar Learning Commons is named.
Today, Herrick Library boasts a collection in excess of 250,000 volumes; paper and electronic access to more than 35,000 journals; access to almost 100 electronic research databases, a multi-media collection numbering more than 1,000 titles; a café, a learning commons, a multimedia room, a 24-hour study room, a computer classroom, wireless access throughout the building, a laptop lending program, the University’s Information Technology Services helpdesk; on-line and in-person reference service; photocopying; interlibrary loan service; and the University Archives in its Special Collections Department that includes a reading room with ornately carved oak paneling from a 17th century English estate.
For more information on the history of Alfred University, visit the Special Collections and Archives website.