The Evolution of the College Library

Three years of visiting over 80 libraries in more than 20 countries have been spent by James Campbell and Will Pryce in order to compile the history of the design used in a library, and how libraries all over the world has developed through the years. This articles stretches from the old days to the modern period and presents significant changes the printed materials has undergone. For students out there, this particular history of the world might be a good topic for college essays and a good foundation for dissertation writing. But some students seeking for help when they have to write a paper. This material also can be useful for writers, for example from, who helps to write paper works for students.

college library

Trinity Hall, United Kingdom (1590)

This library has an unusual way in preserving its lecterns. University libraries in the Early Medieval Period had their books chained so that a reader can only look at it on a lectern. The Trinity Hall, however had lecterns with only smaller desks, although their chains are now detached from the books. Old universities, however, have reconstructed their libraries to include an increasing number of collections although it is to be noted how a mere 358 books was already considered the richest collection in medieval Europe. A dissertation in this case may not be realistically made!

The Wren Library Cambridge (1695)

Among the libraries made in the 17th century, one of the most praised library is that constructed in the Trinity College in Cambridge. Christopher Wren designed the library and has prompted many foreign visitors to make special trips in the college, admiring its remarkable size and architecture. Bookcases in this library were placed along walls and at right angles.

Queens’ College, Cambridge (1750’s)

The usage of printing presses have been first evident in the fittings of the library. The library was primarily made for the President and his colleagues with their students. Back then, Cambridge and Oxford have libraries specifically for each college department. Because of the increasing number of books, desks in Queens’ College were broaden and ultimately became tall bookcases which divided the room into stalls.

Codrington Library, Oxford (1751)

Arrangement found in Queens’ College has been later on adopted in Cambridge and Oxford, blocking light and leaving the center of the room dark. Other libraries in Europe placed their selves against wall which posed a problem of putting the windows. This is not the case in Codrington Library, however. Windows are placed above the shelves which resulted to extreme light and openness. Reading desks also became moveable and accessible for easy reading.

BibliotecaJoanina, Portugal (1728)

The university, the oldest in Portugal,traces its origins back in the 1290s.  Coimbra has moved numerous times but settled finally in Alcaccova Place in 1537. Its library is considered very rare as it was paid by a monarch—a gift King Joao V. The then-rector wrote to the highest monarchy of that time, the King,requesting for donation and was very astonished when the King gave a whole building and the funds to supply it with a new collection. This, by far, is the most extravagant library ever made.

Cambridge University Library, United Kingdom (1842)

The Cambridge University held a bidding competition for architectures to improve its library facilities. After two competitions, architect Cockerell was chosen. The university library’s reading room had a barrel-vaulted space, getting light from windows on sides. The overall structure of the library is airy and well-lit, providing useful and isolated space for work.

The Fisher Fine Arts Library, Philadelphia (1891)

The building has been built in such a way that its expansion can be indefinitely accommodated. Later developments and constructions, however, has blocked the expanding ability and had been threatened for demolition. It has a very long and dramatic history, but it is a well-loved architecture by many, including its current students.

The Beinecke Library, New Haven (1963)

The façade of Beinecke Library can be very deceiving. On the outside it is coated as a plain white box but the interior has a more extravagant feels.  Owing to the effect of sunlight on marble walls, there is a rich glow of amber inside and outside the library. Today, it has one of the most impactful and commanding design in the modern library period.

Utrecht University Library, Netherlands (2004)

The library was completed in 2004. It was designed to offer a wide reading space, however, not compromising the ability to stock books. It can store 4.2 million volumes, many of them available on open shelves. These books are used as a backdrop for workspaces which create rooms for reading. Students usually fill the reading room and perhaps, most of them are there just to use the space in doing their requirements. A dissertation writing may be effectively done here, with a supporting dissertation available as a reading material.

Information, Communications and Media Centre, Germany (2004)

Disappointedly, BTU Cottbus has given its library a different name despite the existence of such obvious feature of a library which provides a home for books. Nevertheless, it has a stunning and commanding façade, standing upright on a hill at the center of the university.

The Grimm Centre, Humboldt University, Berlin, 2009

Named after the famous Grimm brothers Jacob and Wilhelm, the library is home to their book collections including their folk tales and the comprehensive German dictionary, DeutschesWörterbuch. Serving as a replacement library when the original was destroyed during World War II, one of its important and notable feature is the open-shelving ability.

Dawn Richardd

Dawn Richard loves to read and more than that loves to share his experiences with others.

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