Carrier Library celebrates diamond jubilee


To celebrate the 75th anniversary of its official opening, Carrier Library at James Madison University is featuring a weeklong observance of “Library as Place,” which commemorates the many locations and often constrained quarters the library has inhabited in its lifetime.

In the years before Carrier Library’s construction in 1939, the university’s library was forced to share increasingly crowded space in multiple buildings on the campus.

Beginning its days in Maury (then called Science Hall), the library shared a small space with the registrar, classrooms, sewing room, workroom and gymnasium. It soon became overcrowded and was moved to Harrison Hall (then called the Student’s Building) in 1915. Despite being more than double the size of the previous space, it, too, became quickly overcrowded.

In 1938, President Samuel P. Duke procured funds from the New Deal-based Public Works Administration to build a library at what was then Madison College. Groundbreaking began Oct. 17, and, less than a year later, on Sept. 22, 1939, the new library building, known as Madison Memorial Library, was opened to students.

The Virginia governor at the time, James Price, commented, “A magnificent library – one of the finest I’ve ever seen.”

Since then the library has undergone two extensions and one renovation. In 1984, it was renamed Carrier Library in honor of JMU’s fourth president, Dr. Ronald E. Carrier, and his wife, Edith J. Carrier. Its collection has increased from 2,000 volumes in 1910 to 961,098 in 2014, as well as expanding to include electronic and Internet resources.

To commemorate the anniversary, Carrier Library has opened an exhibition, “Dressing for Education: Carrier Library’s Diamond Jubilee 1939-2014,” which features the types of clothing worn by past students, blueprints of the original building and old library memorabilia.

The week of the anniversary, both Carrier and Rose libraries plan to host events in celebration.

Some of the events include:

  • Sept. 21 – Rose Library will feature a slideshow of historic images and staff pictures.
  • Sept. 22 – Both libraries will be giving out free cookies and lemonade provided by Dining Services. Carrier Library will also feature a photo booth with the old library façade and 1930s accessories.
  • Sept. 23 – Carrier Library will host an event on the steps of the old library façade at 10 a.m. featuring remarks from Presidents Jonathan R. Alger, Linwood H. Rose and Carrier, as well as Provost Jerry Benson and Dean of Libraries Ralph Alberico.
  • Sept. 23 – Carrier will host a lecture “Carrier and JMU Libraries: 75 Years of Mobility and Innovation” in Room 301 at 4 p.m. John Reed of JMU’s L&ET staff will discuss the impact that Carrier Library, and all the JMU libraries, have had on the lives and work of students and faculty.

The library is also sponsoring the hashtag #JMUcarrier75 and plans to award prizes to those who use it at library locations on Sept. 22.

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Sept. 19, 2014

By Jessica Bur (’15) JMU Public Affairs

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Published: Friday, September 19, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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