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Temple University Libraries History

The story of Temple University Libraries begins in 1892. Inside a row house on Park Avenue, faculty, students, and friends created our first library with donations from their own book collections. Since then, the Libraries have undergone constant evolution: expanding resources, opening new locations and spaces, cultivating unique special collections, developing vital services, and embracing emerging technologies.

History of Temple University Libraries Timeline

1892

Temple’s first library, comprised of books donated by faculty, students, and friends, established in a row house at 1933 Park Ave 

1894

Library moves to College Hall, now Barrack Hall

1911

Medical School Library organized

1914

Law School Library organized

1926

Russell Conwell’s personal library donated to the Libraries

1936

Sullivan Memorial Library opens as Temple’s first free-standing library; President Franklin D. Roosevelt participates in the dedication

1959

Ambler Campus Library opens

1962

Temple University Libraries joins the Association of Research Libraries (ARL)

1963

The Charles E. Krausz Library is founded as an outgrowth of the former School of Chiropody and now serves the School of Podiatric Medicine

1966

Paley Library opens on Temple’s main campus

1967

Urban Archives established

1969

The Contemporary Culture Collection established

1971

The Library adds its one millionth volume, a copy of the Cromwell Bible, to its collections

1982

The Philadelphia Evening Bulletin ceases operations and donates its news clippings and photographs to the Libraries

1982

WPVI-TV makes an initial transfer of newsreel and public affairs program footage to the Libraries’ Urban Archives

1984

Charles L. Blockson donates his personal collection to Temple University, thus establishing the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection, housed in Sullivan Hall

1988

The Philadelphia Special Investigation Commission donates its MOVE investigation records to the Urban Archives

1993

CBS3 makes an initial transfer of newsreel footage to the Libraries’ Urban Archives

1999

Diamond, the Libraries' online catalog, is dedicated during Homecoming Week

2001

The Libraries’ two millionth volume—Larry Kane’s Philadelphia, published by Temple University Press—is added to its collections

2007

The space in Sullivan Hall housing the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection is renovated to enhance the display, preservation, and access to the collection

2008

Beyond the Page public programming series launches

2008

The Libraries’ three millionth volume—a rare copy of the Cranach Press Hamlet—is added to its collections

2009

The Philadelphia Jewish Archives Center donates its collections to the Libraries

2009

The Ginsburg Health Sciences Library opens in the new Medical Education and Research Building at the Health Sciences Center

2010

Temple University Press, officially found in 1969, is embedded within the Libraries

2011

The Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center is formed as the principal repository for and steward of the Libraries’ rare books, manuscripts, archives and University records

2012

The Philadelphia Media Network LLC transfers The Philadelphia Inquirer and Daily News photographs, negatives, clippings, research files, monographs, and microfilm to the Libraries’ Special Collections Research Center

2015

Digital Scholarship Center opens in Paley Library

2016

The Libraries lead efforts to establish PA Digital, a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) hub and the Commonwealth’s first-ever central repository for digital library, archival, cultural, and historical materials 

2016

The Knight Foundation awards the Libraries with a grant to explore preserving online civic data

2017

Library Search, which replaces Summon and Diamond, is launched as the Libraries' new gateway to discover books, journal articles, newspapers, archival material, images, library research guides, and much more

2017

The Ginsburg Health Sciences Library unveils its state-of-the-art Innovation Space

2019

The groundbreaking new Charles Library opens on Temple’s Main Campus