In 1912, the first library at Middle Tennessee State Normal School was established by newly hired librarian Betty Avent Murfree, boasting a collection of 75 donated volumes. It was housed on the third floor of Kirksey Old Main; its collection eventually grew to 2,000 volumes. By 1925, a separate library building was needed for the newly named Middle Tennessee State Teachers College. Designed to accommodate 20,000 volumes, the structure was erected across from Old Main on the site where Peck Hall now stands. In 1958, the Andrew L. Todd Library was constructed between the Science Building and Jones Hall to accommodate 150,000 volumes. In 1970, an addition was built in order to meet the needs of a growing university. Eventually the Todd Library, designed to hold 225,000 volumes, held more than 600,000 volumes.
Ground was broken for the sorely needed new library on September 11, 1996, the university’s 85th birthday. Named for Dr. James E. Walker, 8th President of Middle Tennessee State University and avid library supporter, the 250,000 square-foot building offers a visible presence for the university’s commitment to student education and faculty research. Combining space and services in an environment that inspires learning and interaction, the new building brings together the intellectual and social aspects of the institution and of the entire community. The library provides access to information worldwide through 350 public computer workstations. The building has a capacity for 800,000 volumes and offers 1,500 general reader seats, 1,000 individual study carrel seats. Facilities for private study are provided through 31 group study rooms and 60 faculty research studies. The library has an active program of instruction, teaching use of databases and other resources through two lab rooms.
More Library History
An expanded history of the library was published in the journal Tennessee Libraries.