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Historical Libraries and Collections

To learn more about how the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library came to be, read below.

During spring 2009, discussions about opportunities to further integrate and enhance Library services in support of research, teaching and learning in the social and behavioral sciences considered the potential to develop a “social science hub” within the Main Library.

In July 2010, a Social and Applied Health Sciences Planning Team identified and recommended an effective, sustainable, and cost-efficient model for providing consolidated library services and resources across the social and applied health sciences in the east wing of the first floor of the Main Library. The idea proposed by the Library was to consolidate the Education and Social Science Library (ESSL), the Business and Economics Library (BEL), and the Applied Health Sciences Library (AHS) into the spaces then occupied by the ESSL and BEL libraries in the east wing of the Main Library.  The academic disciplines represented in the service and collection development programs of the three libraries involved included the following disciplines: sociology, social work, anthropology, political science, economics, business, education,  psychology, gender and women’s studies, Asian American studies, applied health sciences (including gerontology, aging, disability, kinesiology, community/public health, speech and hearing science, recreation, sport, and tourism), and geography.

In September 2011 the Library’s Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library (SSHEL) Implementation Team developed a services, staffing, collections, operations and facilities profile for a new unit intended to provide support for research, teaching and learning in the applied health and social sciences, including labor and employment relations, library and information science, economics, education, and geography.  SSHEL was designed to offer a physical and virtual environment that supports research, teaching and learning in all of these disciplines, excluding business which became a virtual service operation.  SSHEL officially opened on August 5, 2012.  Facilities renovations continued until fall 2013 with a celebratory Grand Opening held on October 24, 2013.

Head Librarians:

  • 2012-present: Nancy O’Brien

The Applied Health Sciences Library was established in 1949 as the Physical Education Library. It was located in rooms 104 and 106 of the Main Library, because that was the midway between the male and female gymnasiums. The library began with 4,000 volumes and a capacity for 48 patrons. The director of the School of Physical Education, Dr. Seward C. Staley, was instrumental in the opening of the library by aiding in collection building and securing space for the library when the first doctoral degree was awarded to a physical education student in 1949.

In 1964, the library relocated to the Main Library’s new North wing due to the growing and high usage of the collection. This move increased the libraries capacity from 54 patrons to 146. By this time the collection had also grown to 10,660 volumes.

When the School of Physical Education changed its name to Applied Life Studies in 1975, the library’s name changed as well to the Applied Life Studies Library. 1976 also brought a new special collection to the library, the Avery Brundage Collection. A coat room in the library was remodeled to hold the collection and renamed the Avery Brundage Room. Brundage was the International Olympic Committee’s director from 1952-1972 and his collection reflects his interest in the Olympics.

In 1977, selected libraries developed national bibliographies to better serve the record breaking numbers of incoming freshmen. The Dictionary Catalog of the Applied Life Science Library was published by G. K. Hall Company of Boston in January 1977.

In the fall of 1983, the library offered online searching for the first time. This new service was encouraged by the dean of the Applied Life Studies who expressed interest in the library acquiring this technology.

In 1987, the library partnered with the president of the North American Society for the Psychology of Sport and Physical Activity to have the University Archives become the depository for the society’s official records. In addition, the library received a gift collection from the recently closed East Central Illinois Health Systems Agency and retired faculty Alyce Cheska and Thomas Cureton. On the technology front, the library acquired its first printer adapter and gained access to BITNET for communications.

By 1990 the Speech and Hearing Department was incorporated into the College of Applied Life Studies by transfer from the Education and Social Science Library.

Multiple major gift collections were given to the library in 1995. Herbert E. Carter, a former biochemistry professor, gifted the library his personal collection of 500 golf books. In addition, over 600 books were added in the subject of tourism, making the library’s collection “the only noteworthy tourism collection in the Midwest, and only one of the seven such collections world-wide” (University of Illinois Library Annual Report: 1995). This collection was established by Dan Fesenmair, Leisure Studies Professor, who obtained a grant from the Illinois Bureau of Tourism to build the unique collection.

In 2006, when the College of Applied Life Studies was renamed the College of Applied Health Sciences, the library changed its name to the Applied Health Sciences (AHS) Library.

In 2007, the Sports & Physical Education and the Outdoor Recreation collection of the library were chosen as collections of distinction to be digitized as part of the Google Books Digitization Project.

In 2008, the Health Information Portal, now called the Medicine, Biomedicine and Health Virtual Library, was released which “brings together health information from many disciplines and sources, making them available in one convenient, easy-to-access place.” The AHS librarian, Mary Beth Allen, coordinated the project which involved thirteen campus librarians and three graduate assistants.

In 2010, the library and Human Kinetics celebrated their partnership as the 1,000th book was donated by Human Kinetics. The company has donated books since 1999 with the value exceeding $33,000.

In 2012, the library’s collection merged with the Education and Social Science Library to create the Social Sciences, Health, and Education Library.

Head Librarians:

  • 1950 – 1966: Mrs. Theo Nelson, Physical Education Librarian
  • 1966 – 1980: Jean Lokke, Physical Education Librarian
  • 1981 – 1982: Jane Armstrong, Applied Life Studies Librarian
  • 1982 – 1984: Patricia McCandless, Acting Applied Life Studies Librarian
  • 1984 – 1990: Patricia McCandless, Applied Life Studies Librarian
  • 1990 – 2012: Mary Beth Allen, Applied Life Studies Librarian / Applied Health Sciences Librarian

The Avery Brundage Collection

The Avery Brundage Collection is a major resource for the study of 20th century sports and the development of international athletic competition. A 1909 University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign civil engineering graduate, Avery Brundage was a dominant figure in the sports world for over forty years, from the early 1930’s until his death in 1975. He was president of the International Olympic Committee from 1952 to 1972. Prior to his death, Brundage willed his archive of papers, books, awards, and memorabilia to the University of Illinois. In 1976, an additional shipment of material was received from the Brundage Estate. The collection is comprised of three distinct parts:

I: The archival collection of Brundage’s personal papers, correspondence, photographs, etc. is housed in the University Archives (19 Library). This collection of 324 boxes and 122 scrapbooks of material is described in a guidebook which was compiled by University Archivist Emeritus Maynard Brichford and published by Verlag Karl Hofmann for the Bundesinstitut fur Sportwissenschaft in 1977 (Avery Brundage Collection: 1908-1975.) The collection of primary source material has been microfilmed and the 150 reels of microfilm are available for use at a number of research centers worldwide. The Brundage Collection is supplemented by the Frederick Ruegsegger Collection, 1950-1975, containing the papers of Brundage’s chief adviser.

II: Some 1,015 artifacts associated with Mr. Brundage’s career are housed in the University of Illinois Spurlock Museum. This collection consists of plaques, medals, models, vases, glassware, china, pins, statues, paintings, weapons, souvenirs and memorabilia. Many of the items have artistic significance, but their primary value is in their association with Mr. Brundage.

III: The 1,663 volume Brundage Olympics and Sports Library is housed in the University Archives Oak Street Facility. This part of the collection is Mr. Brundage’s own library of books and other print material on the subject of international athletic competition and the Olympic movement. The relative content and type of the material is quite diverse. A number of items were gift volumes to Mr. Brundage and some of the items are rare.

The Education and Social Science Library started in 1901 as the Pedagogical Library. It was located in room 204 of University Hall (where the Union is currently located). The library was part of the Department of Education and received assistance from the Main Library. The library housed a collection of textbooks, courses of study for all large city school systems, school laws, and related books and pamphlets. It was “Purported to be the ‘nucleus of a representative collection of apparatus for the school laboratory.'” Between 1901 and 1911, the size of the collection ranged from 600 volumes and a small collection of pamphlets to about 1,600 volumes and over 3,500 pamphlets.

In 1911, the collection of the Pedagogical Library, along with other books in education, philosophy, and psychology, moved to rooms 192-196 in Lincoln Hall and became     known as the Philosophy, Psychology, and Education Reading Room. Crowding and inadequate furniture were a problem for both patrons and staff. The librarian reported using a kitchen table as a circulation desk.

By 1924 the collection, then known as the Philosophy, Psychology, and Education Seminar, contained 4,496 philosophy volumes, 3,316 psychology volumes, and  approximately 13,000 education volumes. The rooms at this time were still “frequently taxed beyond their seating capacity” and a few years later the librarian reported the rooms continued to remain “uncomfortably filled.” Due to this, the Seminar moved from Lincoln Hall to the south end of the first floor in the Main Library in 1929. A year later the annual report states there was a 54.5% increase in circulation statistics since moving into the new building. These positive changes also came with a few drawbacks as the librarian reported, “Students whistle and shout as if they were on a public thoroughfare instead of in a library building.” In 1931, the name was altered again to the Education, Philosophy, and Psychology Reading Room.

All departmental reading rooms located in the Main Library were renamed in 1944-1945 in recognition of their development to true departmental libraries. The name changed to the Education, Philosophy, and Psychology Library. Three years later the library moved to rooms 100, 100b, and 102 in the Main Library, which was the North Reserve Books Room until this point, in order to create space for the establishment of an undergraduate library in the south end of the building.

The first discussion of incorporating other subjects into the Education, Philosophy, and Psychology Library began in 1958-1959. In 1961-1962 serious consideration was given to a “Behavioral Sciences Library” which was to contain anthropology, education, political science, psychology, social work, and sociology. A formal proposal was submitted to use adjacent rooms 104 and 106, then the Physical Education Library, and room 112, the Classics Library, for the expansion. The funds to create the “Behavioral Sciences Library” were approved in 1963-1964, but in order to more easily facilitate changing the records, “Education” was retained as the head of the name. It was understood that the name would eventually change to “Behavioral Sciences Library” when the staff and money became available.

In 1964-1965, the Education and Social Science Library was created and expanded to fill rooms 104, 106, and 112. Rooms 104 and 106 housed the Instructional Materials Center, including the School Collection. The School (S) Collection was transferred from the Library Science Library, though they still maintained collection responsibilities. Philosophy materials were transferred out to the History Library. Room 112 contained open shelves, study space, and some periodicals. Other rooms were renovated and added to increase the size of the study area.

A year later in 1966, the History Library transferred the United Nations Collection to the Education and Social Science Library. It was held until 1997 when it was transferred to the Government Documents Library.

The library assumed complete responsibility for the S-Collection in 1975-1976. In 1993-1994, it was expanded through an in-kind award to acquire 53,000 children’s books from the Center for Research Libraries. This made the Education and Social Science Library’s holdings of children’s books second only to the Library of Congress!

Also in the early 1970s, the linguistics collection was transferred out of the Education and Social Science Library. A few years later in 1977, the speech and hearing collection was transferred in from the English Library. Responsibilities for speech and hearing were maintained until 1990-1991 when it was transferred to the Applied Life Studies Library.

From 1969-1980 the College of Education was responsible for the Curriculum Materials Collection. In 1980, it was transferred to the Library to add additional instructional materials to the collection. Mention of collecting textbooks, specifically elementary school books, are made early in the history of the library. In a handwritten report from the 1930s, there is a reference to acquiring a number of textbooks for the collection: “The Tuttle Collection of 9,000 volumes, purchased in 1928 from the Tuttle Co. of Rutland, Vermont added about 5,000 old, American textbooks to our collection.” There are also numerous historical references to the test collection, which continues to be housed in the Education and Social Science library.

In order to stay technologically relevant, the physical card catalog was dismantled in 1990-1991 because it had not been maintained for some time. A year later the, “Use of internet for all staff for internal work procedures as well as for public service activities [was] a high priority.” As internet access became an integral part of reference services, online live chat was launched in 2004-2005. A year later the library started using instant message services to provide reference assistance as well.

Also, in 2005 the bulk of the Women and Gender Resources collection was transferred to the Library with the remainder split between the main book stacks and other departmental libraries.  In 2008-2009, a significant segment of the journals and books formerly located in the Library & Information Science Library became part of the ESSL collections. In 2011 communication materials were moved to the Communications Library and geography resources were transferred from the Map & Geography Library to the ESSL.  Asian American Studies also joined the disciplines served by ESSL in 2011.

Acting/Head Librarians:

(dates and names may not be completely correct before 1924)

  • 1905: Charles N. Smith
  • 1912-1914: Margaret M. Herdman
  • 1917: Harry Amsterdem
  • 1919: Wilma L. Shelton
  • 1921: Ethyl Blum
  • 1921-1923: Nellie Roberts Kennedy
  • 1924-1942: Ida H. Tod
  • 1942-1944: Gwladys Spencer
  • 1944-1949: Evalyn R. Nelson
  • 1949-1951: Paul J. Burnette
  • 1951 (May-August): Alice Martin
  • 1951-1952: Allen J. Sprow
  • 1952-1957: Ruth Schaefer
  • 1957-1962: Edward G. Holley
  • 1962-1967: Ralph Stenstrom
  • 1967-1976: John A. Walker
  • 1976-1977: Chitra Jogdeo (Acting)
  • 1977-1983: Barton Clark
  • 1983-1987: Nancy O’Brien (Acting)
  • 1987-1992: Susan Klingberg
  • 1992-2012: Nancy O’Brien

The Susan Stout Memorial Library was established to provide a current collection of core materials for research and study in the field of psychology. It was a major resource for the faculty and graduate students of the Psychology Department. The Library, located as a reading room within the Psychology Building, was supported by an endowment fund with contributions from the family and friends of the late Susan Stout, a former University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign Psychology graduate student, until its closure in 2010. At that time, it became a virtual library of online resources.  During some years of its operation, the Susan Stout Memorial Library was overseen by the Education and Social Science Library, which provided services and collections to support teaching and research of the Department of Psychology.

Susan Stout Biography

Susan Caroline Stout graduated from Washington Irving High School in 1954 as co-valedictorian of her class. She was president of the National Honor Society and was active in many extracurricular activities including both publications, the Hilltop and Memoirs.

In 1958, she graduated cum laude from Woman’s College of the University of North Carolina. To continue her education, she entered the Graduate College of the University of Illinois, majoring in experimental psychology. Had it not been for her untimely death, she would have completed her research for her doctoral thesis in the summer of 1962. Her special field of research interest was brain function in motivation.

Following her death, an informal fund was established to honor her memory. Over the years the Susan Caroline Stout Fund grew to proportions sufficient to create an endowment in support of the Psychology Department Library which was renamed in honor of Susan. Members of Susan’s family, including her mother, Susan Shuttleworth Stout, and her aunt, Frances Shuttleworth Watson, have supported the Stout Psychology Library with numerous generous gifts through the years.

The Susan Caroline Stout Memorial Fund currently is maintained by the Department of Psychology.

For more information on the transition from the Library and Information Science Library to the Information Sciences Virtual Library, please visit History of the Library and Information Science Library.

Acting/Head Librarians:

  • Frances E. Hammitt, 1941-1943
  • Elma Anderson, 1943-1944
  • Donna D. Finger, 1944-1954
  • Billie Hurst, 1954
  • Jo Ann Wiles Tuckwood, 1954-1964
  • Ruth Spence, 1964-1966
  • Evelyn Johnson, 1966-1967
  • Donald Lanier, 1967-1969
  • Kathleen Draper, 1969-1975
  • Mary Pillepich, 1975-1980
  • Patricia F. Stenstrom, 1981-1997
  • Susan E. Searing, 1997-2012

Information Sciences Librarians:

  • Daniel G. Tracy, 2013-2018
  • Christopher J. Bailey, 2019-Present