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Home > About the Library > CSUS Library History (1947 - 2002)

CSUS Library History (1947 - 2002)

The Library came into being in September 1947 and shared the quarters of the Sacramento Junior College.  In 1953 a two-story Sacramento State Library was built near the Administration Building facing J Street and included 30,000 volumes and a staff of 15.  Dr. Alan D. Covey was appointed the first College Librarian.  In 1959 a third story increased the building’s capacity by 125,000 volumes.  Dr. Perry D. Morrison became the second College Librarian in 1963 followed in 1966 by Gordon Martin, who oversaw the construction of a new library building.   This six story Library I, which opened in 1975, provided 150,000 assignable square feet of space and a capacity of 500,000 volumes.  Joyce Ball assumed the Library Director position in 1980 followed by Dr. Charles Martell as Dean and University Librarian in 1987.  Library II, a 4-story addition, opened in 1990.  This added 88,000 assignable square feet and included the installation of a large compact storage unit in the Library I lower level for enhanced collection space.  Patricia Larsen was appointed Dean and Director in 1997.  During this Dean’s tenure the three subject reference desks were consolidated into a single general reference area.  Dr. Terry D. Webb became Director and Dean in 2002.

At the beginning of the new millennium, the Library held over 1.2 million volumes as well as non-print media and millions of microforms   The Library was open an average of 93.5 hours per week with an average annual circulation of over 275,000 items  (compared to 390,000 in 1988/89).  Over 3,000 reference transactions occurred in a typical week (also down from 1988/89), however reference questions became far more complex given the array of paper, electronic and Internet resources.  About 43,000 people came into the Library in a typical week.  Eighty-three FTE Library faculty, staff and administrators served the academic community in addition to over 40 FTE of student assistants. 

A total budget of nearly 8 million dollars in 2000/2001 included over 2 million dollars for collections and database licenses compared to the initial book budget of $2,200 in 1947.  Over the history of the Library there were periods of expansion with healthy budgets as well as periods of budget reductions often paired with spiraling costs.  The impact of inflation was devastating during the 1970’s.   The first major periodical reduction occurred in 1975/76. Budget constraints also led to a series of additional periodical reductions in the late 1980’s and the early 1990’s. 

Around this time a trend was for academic libraries to pursue increased access to remote collections in addition to continuing to build their locally held collections.  This led to a dramatic increase in access to full-text journals and other collections via the acquisition of a variety of electronic resources.   Library users have in-library and remote full-text access to tens of thousands of journal titles.  Another trend saw mediated database searching (by librarians for library users) of the 1980’s evolve into end-user searching (via a variety of technologies including CD-ROM) in the 1990’s.  This was followed by the offering of most of the 100+ Library purchased databases via annually purchased licensed agreements using Internet Protocol (IP) authenticated access.  The number of Library computers for public use increased from a handful in the 1980’s to hundreds in the early 2000’s.  Two teaching labs for hands-on Library Instruction were also added: a 15-computer lab in 1997 and a 30-computer lab in 2002.

Other landmark events included the purchase of a CHECKPOINT detection system in 1969, the joining of Mountain Valley Library System in 1973/74 --- a collaboration that continues through the new century as the Library of California and its local Sierra Valley Library Network also evolved.  LIBS 100, an automated circulation system, was added in 1977/78.  This was succeeded by CLSI as a circulation system and INNOVACQ (1984) as an automated serials check-in and acquisition module.  In the early 1990’s the Library moved to an integrated library system with Innovative Interfaces’ INNOPAC, which offered a public online catalog that we named EUREKA, as well as incorporating circulation, acquisitions, serials and cataloging modules.

Major special acquisitions include the John E. Moss Congressional Papers Collection, the Phil Isenberg Papers, the Japanese American Archival Collection, the Tsakopoulos Collection and many other collections as well as strong holdings in the social movements of the 1960’s and 1970’s.   Special Collections and University Archives has grown from a small staff-run operation to one that will include 3 librarians and 3 staff in 2003.  

Over the decades a cadre of dedicated and talented librarians (faculty since 1982/83) supported the teaching and research needs of the academic community as well as addressed a commitment to teach students how to pursue research resources and strategies.  In the Age of the Internet, this has evolved to working with students to demonstrate “information competence” and “information literacy.”  Librarians’ evolution has also included more direct support of the campus community’s teaching and learning and an increase in the role of librarians as teachers in their own respect.  Over 14,000 students were reached in formal library instruction opportunities during 2001/2002.  The library faculty and staff continue to demonstrate their dedication and commitment to supporting the teaching and research needs of the CSUS Community.


Fred Batt, 12/4/2002