Long Island University C.W. Post Campus
C.W. Post Campus B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
Your Library: Preserving the Past and Creating the 

The library is not a shrine for the worship of books. It is not a temple where literary incense must be burned or where one's devotion to the bound book is expressed in ritual. A library, to modify the famous metaphor of Socrates, should be the delivery room for the birth of ideas - a place where history comes to life.
Norman Cousins (1915- )
- Cited in ALA Bulletin, Oct. 1954, p.475

This exhibit chronicles the history and growth of the LIU Post Library from its inception in 1929 to date. It includes pictures from the Special Collections Department of the library and the LIU Post Archives, as well as a number of rare and valuable books and journals from various departments within the library.

The Beginnings
The library can be traced back to 1929 when it served as Marjorie Merriweather Post's personal library and housed her private collection. It was located in the 1600's English-styled mansion at the top of a magnificent great lawn, and was surrounded by formal gardens and natural woodlands.

This library currently serves the Provost and continues to maintain its original architectural beauty. Here you will find intricately carved panels that carry Tudor-themed symbols and images such as an owl sitting on top of a book, and an inkwell with a plume pen next to a candle. There are four built-in bookcases framed with simple carvings of leaves. The room also possesses a magnificent floor-to-ceiling fireplace, which envelops the reader with warmth and coziness. [In addition, a small second library was located in the back portion of the present Kumble Hall]

From this modest private collection, the library later expanded to occupy the front end of the present Kumble Hall and became an academic library collection serving the needs of the LIU Post community with books and periodicals and Reference, Research, Acquisition, and Cataloging functions.

B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library
Increases in enrollment coupled with the addition of a variety of new academic programs highlighted the need for further library expansion. Plans were drawn up for a new library to be built on the former football and baseball fields, which were then moved to the southern part of the campus. Bradley J. Delehanty, who passed away just before construction was started, originally designed the building. As a result of Mr. Delehanty's death, Alfred Shaknis and Peter S. Van Bloem were called in to complete the project. The groundbreaking ceremony for this new structure took place on May 9, 1966.

This current, Jeffersonian-style library, cost six million dollars to build and occupies 175,000 square feet on a five-acre site on Northern Boulevard. It was named the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library in memory of the late B. Davis Schwartz, a benefactor of the college and former member of its Board of Associates. It took 3 years to construct and opened on October 15, 1969. The presiding official was Robert Payton, the President of LIU Post.

According to Dr. R. Gordon Hoxie, who served as LIU Post's first dean, (and subsequently its provost, president and Long Island University chancellor) construction on the B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library was the first time that the University opted to emphasize the importance of artistic style and architectural beauty over capital constraints.

The B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library is a magnificent three-story brick building with an imposing structure, white Vermont marble pillars, and white porticos. It was projected to house the existing collection of 300,000 documents as well as to provide ample room for growth of up to 1,200,000 documents. It was projected that this capacity would not be reached for another fifty years.

Features of this library included:

An interesting feature was the so-called "Library's stairway to nowhere." This stairway was supposed to lead to the sixth-floor book stacks, which were never built because of monetary concerns.

There was much excitement in the early days of moving to this building even though the moving was contracted to special movers. Dean E. Hugh Behymer, the then head of the library remarked, "there are not enough librarians to go around." The collection was moved and was subsequently converted to the LC system from the Dewey Decimal System of classification. Those interested in the welfare of the library were invited to join "The Friends of the LIU Post Library". This association is now known as the Post Library Association.

B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library and Emerging Technologies
Through the years the library has grown from a basic collection in the 1950's to a large and diverse number of collections. Technology has defined several operational changes in all of the functions of the library, such as the automation of the card catalog and circulation as well as the inclusion of electronic web accessible databases, media, and digital collections.

The Internet has led to global access and continues to be in the forefront of several library and user issues. Some physical changes were made such as the installation of a ramp and other improvements for the physically challenged. The lobby of the library was renovated in 1996, but this facelift was not adequate to meet the technological challenges of the 21st century. In 2002 it was felt that many physical, structural and service changes were needed to better serve the LIU Post Community.

B. Davis Schwartz Memorial Library - 2004
Renovations for the interior of the library took place over the summer of 2003. The library now provides students with over 1,000,000 volumes and more than 5000 periodicals and newspaper subscriptions, and a wide variety of electronic databases. It is open 86 hours a week, including nights and weekends and special extended hours during final examinations.

The Information Desk serves as a focal point in the newly renovated space. It provides assistance to the core Reference collection and the Business, Law, and Information Science Sources. The Book Stacks are more visible and accessible. There are 30 computer workstations, plugs for laptops, wireless hubs, a quiet study lounge, a gazebo for collaborative learning, several instructional services, and more and more user oriented services planned for the near future. Periodicals Department has a new look and Technical Services are located in the lower level of the Library. More renovations are yet to come.

The Exhibit Committee, the Dean of University Libraries, Dr, Donald L. Ungarelli, and colleagues in the library welcome you to this exhibit and extend their best wishes to all users as we grow together in this new environment and meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Exhibit Committee
Prof. Manju Prasad-Rao, Coordinator
Prof. Mary Kate Boyd-Byrnes
Prof. Amrita Madray
Prof. Jean Uhl

Kyoung Sook Lee

Prof. Emily Lehrman

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