Ohio University

Happy Birthday OHIO! Founders Day is February 18

Happy Birthday, OHIO!

Founders Day • February Eighteenth

Founders Day 2014 - Alden Library

When Vernon R. Alden came to Ohio University as its 15th president in 1962, he hoped to lead Ohio University to a “New Frontier” of excellence and national prominence in order to meet the needs of a student body that was expected to climb to 26,000 within the decade.

In 1963, a study by the Ohio Board of Regents showed that academic libraries in “Illinois and Michigan had about a third more basic requirements—[and] the state-assisted schools in Ohio about a third less. Ohio University was next to the bottom of the list with a 37% deficiency.” 

Photos from 1969 when the Library moved to Alden Library

In 1969, the Library moved to Alden Library. Workers filled boxes with books that were then transported outside by a rolling conveyor. From the conveyor the books were moved by tractor to Alden Library where they were transported into the building by conveyor.


In response, President Alden’s administration made the construction of a new library a priority over all other building needs for the University. 

“We had to replace a couple of buildings, [Boyd Hall, a women’s dormitory and the old women’s gym on Park Place] and that was a bit controversial because we wanted the Library to be in a central location,” said Alden.  

At seven stories high and as long as a football field, the Vernon R. Alden Library finally opened its doors May 23, 1969, beginning a new chapter in Ohio University Libraries. 

The Computer Center at Ohio University's Alden Library, 1982

 The Computer Center at Ohio University's Alden Library, 1982.


In 1996, Ohio University Libraries earned its place among an elite group of major university and research libraries in the United States and in Canada as a member of the prestigious Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Thanks to technology, and the ever-increasing emphasis that the Libraries is placing on shared resources, nowhere does the old blend with the new quite so seamlessly as in Alden Library.  

Students in the Alden newsprint section of the fourth floor, 1995

A popular reading area for students was the newsprint section on the fourth floor of Alden, 1995.


As in the past, quiet study spaces still remain in Alden, but currently, the most heavily used areas of the building are collaborative workspaces. With the opening of the Learning Commons, a student-oriented and technology-enriched environment in 2004, the Library’s hours extended to 24 hours a day, 5 days a week in addition to its regular hours.

Photo from the Ohio University LIbraries 40th Anniversary with Vernon R. Alden

(Left) Vernon R. Alden, 15th president of Ohio University, acknowledges (right) Thomas R. Schiff and his gift, "Vernon R. Alden Library, Panoramic Photograph," unveiled during Ohio University Libraries' 40th Anniversary celebration held October 3, 2009. The reflected image is Ohio University 20th President Roderick J. McDavis.


In 2010, the Libraries’ collections grew to 3 million items—ranking Ohio University as the 64th largest library in North America. 

Alden Library fills many niches for many different researchers’ needs and creates a comfortable place for Ohio University students, faculty and community members to research, to study and to collaborate—day or night.

The exterior of Alden Library as viewed from College Green, 2009

A student approaches the Vernon R. Alden Library on October 27, 2009.


Though buildings, students, and times have changed since the first Library of Ohio University in 1814, OHIO’s Libraries has continued to set the intellectual tone of the campus and continued to contribute to the outstanding quality of education that the University offers.