Your partner in research, learning, and knowledge
The James E. Walker Library will engage as a leader in advancing research, scholarship, creative activity, and experiential learning across the MTSU community. The library aspires to continually diversify and invest in the library faculty and staff that help shape inclusive, innovative, and responsive strategies to support institutional priorities.
Excellence (We are committed to excellent user centered service. Through our deep and specialized knowledge and expertise, we provide responsive and innovative collections and spaces.)
Student Engagement (We keep students at the forefront of all we do, including teaching in and out of the classroom, developing resources, and providing services and programming that meet the needs of our users)
Inclusion (We endeavor to design inclusive spaces, services, and collections that facilitate equitable access.)
Innovation (We value and encourage discovery, experimentation, and transformation, constantly seeking ways to improve the user’s experience.)
Collaboration(We build strong and meaningful partnerships within the library, across campus and beyond; we value collegiality, open communication, and shared responsibility for achieving library and campus goals)
Organizational Effectiveness (We are committed to growing a library organization that values diverse personnel and the resources necessary for delivering essential programs and services to the MTSU community. Through sound financial management, strategic planning, assessment, professional development, inclusivity, and recognition, the library sustains continual improvement).
250,000 gross square feet - 187,500 net square feet. Four floors above ground, fully accessible to all persons with disabilities.
State Funding: $33 million
University Administration at time of construction:
Dr. James E. Walker, President
Dr. Barbara Haskew, Provost/VP Academic Affairs
Dr. Duane Stucky, VP Finance and Administration
Dr. Robert C. Lalance, Jr., VP Student Affairs
Dr. Linda P. Hare, VP Development and University Relations
Dr. R. Earl Thomas, VP Executive Affairs
Joint Venture Designer:
Thomas, Miller & Partners & I C Thomasson Associates, Inc.
Thomas, Miller & Partners, Nashville
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.
James Edwin Walker graduated from Alabama State University with a bachelor's degree in biology, earned a master's in special education from Atlanta University, and graduated from Pennsylvania State University's doctoral program in education. He was a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Alabama in Higher Education Administration and was also a graduate of the Harvard University Institute for Educational Management.
Dr. Walker was provost and vice president for academic affairs at the University of Northern Colorado until he became President of MTSU in 1991. He left MTSU in 2000 to become President of Southern Illinois University, the place his teaching career started decades before. He died at his home on February 6, 2006, after a battle with cancer.
Dr. Walker's strong support for the Library is continued today by President McPhee.