History of the Capital University Library

Posted by Nichole Johnson |

Monday, May 14, 2012

Here is a brief history of Capital University Library, according to the first edition of the CAPITALIAN, published in 1915; and University history books, These Hundred Years: The Centennial History of Capital University, by David B. Owens, and Chronicle of Change: Capital University 1950-2000, by James L. Burke.


June 17, 1914Rudolph-Memorial-Library-263x245

The cornerstone is laid for the Rudolph Memorial Library (currently Kerns Religious Life Center), Capital’s first library that served the College. A $10,000 bequest had been received in 1908 from Mrs. Rudolph, of Pennsylvania. The Board of Regents had requested permission of the Synod to use the bequest to establish a separate library from the Seminary to serve the College. Permission eventually was granted, and plans for a new library to serve the College, at an estimated cost of $14,000, were accepted by the Board in Summer 1913.

June 1915

Rudolph Memorial Library is dedicated. The final cost was $15,500, with an additional $2,000 for furnishings.


Board of Regents (known today as the Board of Trustees) recognized an “urgent need” for library space and asked the Board of Higher Education and the American Lutheran Church Board of Trustees to “place in high priority” the building of a library.


President Harold Yochum listed a two-phase building program that included $350,000 for a library addition. The transfer of Seminary holdings to its new library when the Seminary separated from Capital that same year created only temporary relief.


Regents recognize an 84,000-square-foot library must be built to hold 300,000 volumes at a projected cost of $2 million. Blackmore-Library-232x363 



Regents approve plans for financing the new library. The included a Title I grant for $848,000, a Title III loan of $900,000 at 3 percent interest; and a LIFE contribution of $590,535. The final cost for the building and its furnishings came to $2.3 million, making it Capital’s most expensive building at the time.


Construction of the new library begins following the razing of Recitation Hall.


Construction of the new library is completed and the building is dedicated in March


The same year the chapel was moved to Rudolph Library.


The Board of Trustees approved naming the library the Josiah Hillerman Blackmore Library in honor of Capital’s 12th president.


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