The Library Gets a New Home

Program, Dedication of the South Bend Campus, 1989
Program, Dedication of the South Bend Campus, 1989

As IU South Bend grew, the Library grew. The Northside location proved too small. The Library facility at Northside was remodeled in 1980, and then again in 1984. It became increasingly clear that more room was needed for a Library that served a campus that was slated to grow itself.

A November 8, 1985 article from the IU Newspaper (the contemporary newspaper for staff and faculty) notes that development of a library building was approved by the Trustees of IU, meeting in South Bend, setting in motion an answer to the lack of space that librarians, staff, faculty and students had all been concerned with for years. A March 11, 1987 article from the South Bend Tribune notes that the Indiana House of Representatives approved two very important milestones in IU South Bend campus history: first, a $2.3 million statewide effort to bring Purdue University technology programs to Indiana University satellite campuses in South Bend, Elkhart and elsewhere; and second, $ 250, 000 for IU South Bend Library construction.

Franklin D. Schurz
Franklin D. Schurz

Franklin D. Schurz, chairman of the board of Schurz Communications, Inc., a media broadcasting company as well as former editor and publisher of The South Bend Tribune, gave IU South Bend generous donations to complete the construction of the building. Other monies were provided by rental income from the Associates Building's computer facility and the Indiana state bonding authority. In addition, then Library Director James Mullins made significant efforts towards the building of the new library.

Thus the present Franklin D. Schurz Library began by breaking ground for construction in 1986, and the building was dedicated in 1989. As the dedication program states, "The site of the Library was chosen for its beautiful view overlooking the St. Joseph River and for the focus it would give to the growing campus." Edward Larrabee Barnes/John M.Y. Lee & Partners of New York were the architects. The Library is built from Indiana limestone with large green-glass windows, all crowned by a glass atrium.

It stands at the head of campus - visually and practically - the nexus of the campus. The Library has a total of 86,000 square feet and six stories. The windows on each floor afford views of the entire campus from one side, and of the St. Joseph River on the other. As the focal center of campus, students, faculty, staff, administrators, and community members use the Library as a gathering place to study, collaboratively research, attend classes, and to hold meetings and celebrations.

In 1991, the IU South Bend Library began the rapid path toward the electronic realm. The installation of the IU catalog system, what is now presently known as IUCAT, was completed. This important event helped to precipitate a number of changes, not least of all the processing of library materials on the South Bend campus. It helped the Schurz Library become increasingly more independent of the Bloomington campus, although there are still aspects that Bloomington's information professionals assist with. The Regional Campus Libraries system still exists as a collaborative partnership.

There have been some recent organizational and physical changes and additions that have made the Schurz Library stronger. These include Instructional Media Services joining the Library so we have the strongest media partnership possible. And the Wiekamp Educational Resource Commons is another unit of the Library that serves our Education students as well as general campus' production needs:

In 2008, the Hammes Information Commons opened as a collaborative effort by the Library, Instructional Media Services, and Information Technologies which brings together a rich array of print and electronic resources, technology, and services provided by reference librarians, technology assistants, and multimedia specialists. In 2009, our Dorene Dwyer Media Commons & Café, opened, which is a user-centered environment which features a café, a space to view cable TV news or DVDs or listen to audio recordings, a renovated circulation, reserves, and interlibrary loan services area, and a state-of-the-art multimedia production studio, with expert assistance provided by Instructional Media Services staff.

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Last Reviewed: 03/2014