Shhhh (or not)

Black and white photo of two women standing next to a large filing cabinet with a drawer open
A casual conversation over the library card catalog.
A black and white photo of the inside of a library with small chandeliers and tables with chairs in the middle of the room.
Adelbert College's Henry R. Hatch Library.

When the Kelvin Smith Library on the Case Western Reserve campus opened in 1996, offering abundant open spaces and natural light, local media hailed it as "the library of the future." In recent years, the university's main library has redesigned the facilities for 21st-century learning and collaboration. The changes include adding a cafe and art gallery, and expanding the Freedman Center for Digital Scholarship, a state of-the-art space for applying new technologies to view and creatively work with information.

A black and white photo of a young person reading cross-legged.PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

From the 1970s, a student uses a library floor and her "laptop" to study.

"The future keeps moving on," said Arnold Hirshon, associate provost and university librarian. "And our libraries constantly innovate and adjust to the new ways in which our students and faculty use them."

As we look to the future, we're also peering back at campus libraries.

We thank University Archives for these photos and for drawing our attention to this quote from Albert Einstein: "The only thing that you absolutely have to know is the location of the library."

A black and white photo of a man and a woman reading from a long piece of paper in front of a new library billboard.PHOTO COURTESY OF UNIVERSITY ARCHIVES

English Professor and head of libraries Lyon Richardson with student Jean Ann Macan, at the site of the future Freiberger Library.

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