College & Research Libraries News

CONFERENCE CIRCUIT: Detroit libraries: Check them out!

by William P. Kane

When the ACRL 9th Na- tional Conference comes to Detroit on April 8-11, 1999, librarians from around the country and world will have a chance to visit and appreciate the area’s unique and richly diverse library build- ings and collections. In fact, special preconference tours are being arranged to give you a chance to see firsthand some remark- able architecture and the resources housed within.

For under $20, you can reserve a spot for a half-day tour on the Thursday before the conference, and get expertly escorted around town and around the libraries. Be sure to sign up for the special tour of either the libraries in Detroit’s Cultural Center or the libraries of Eastern Michigan University (EMU) and the University of Michigan (UM). These tours fill up quickly, and you need to register in advance using the form found with the conference registration materials. See for more details.

Libraries in Detroit's Cultural Center: a tour preview

This half-day tour begins at Wayne State University’s new Undergraduate Library, and from there you’ll scoot across the street to the venerable Detroit Public Library and other libraries within a stone’s throw.

Wayne State University’s David Adamany Undergraduate Library. When it opened in September 1997, the David Adamany Undergraduate Library at Wayne State University was hailed as “A Library Like No Other.” One year later, over 7,000 people use this busy library every day. The building features 300,000 square feet, 2,700 seats, 1409 computer access points, 700 computers, and serves as the primary student computing center on campus.

Unique programs include “Windows on the Arts,” a weekly program of cultural performances in the library’s three-story atrium; “Windows on the World,” an around-the-clock source of news programming; and the Helen DeRoy Extended Hour Study Center where students compute and study 24 hours a day. The librarians maintain an active program of library instruction and team-teach nearly 100 sections of UGE 1000—the University’s freshman orientation course designed around the information literacy process. The David Adamany Undergraduate Library will be included on the official library tour during the ACRL conference. For a sneak preview, visit http://

Detroit Public Library. The Detroit Public Library has eight special collections, most of which are located at the Main Library. The Burton Historical Collection is a large repository of historical and genealogical materials. The original collection was donated to the Detroit Public Library in 1914 by Clarence Monroe Burton, a Detroit attorney.

Books and manuscript materials focus on the history of Detroit and Michigan from the 17th century to the present, encompassing the Great Lakes area, New England, and New France. Other materials include a large map collection, pamphlets, newspapers, business records, newspaper clippings, broadsides, and scrapbooks. The genealogical collection, one of the finest in the country, includes: books; charts of individual families, federal census population schedules, records of births; mar- riages, baptisms, and cemetery inscriptions; wills and probate records; church membership lists; military records; registers of deeds; news- paper obituaries; biographical encyclopedias; and county and town histories. The genealogi- cal collection is not limited to the United States; it also includes a large collection of Canadian materials and early French records.

The Burton Historical Collection also houses the Edgar DeWitt Jones Lincoln Collection, fea- turing books and manuscripts on Abraham Lincoln; the Ernie Harwell Col- lection, featuring books, pamphlets, photographs, and newspaper clippings on sports; and the Rare Book Collection. This collection contains books in all fields of knowledge, many of them landmark works of western civilization. It features origi- nal works of authors and il- lustrators including Samuel Clemens, Walter Crane, Kate Greenaway, Aldous Huxley, D. H. Lawrence, T. E. Lawrence, Eugene O’Neill, Evaline Ness, and Laura Ingalls Wilder.

Some treasures are: Presi- dent George Washington’s handwritten diary from October 1789-March 1790; De Honesta, the first cookbook to appear in print, authored by Platina in 1498; Cicero’s De Officiis, printed in 1466—the oldest printed book in the Rare Book Collection; a sequel to Huckleberry Finn, writ- ten in pencil by Samuel Clemens; and two origi- nal manuscripts from the Little House Series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. For more information:

Other libraries in the Cultural Center include those of the WSU’s Reuther Archives, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Center for Creative Studies, and the medical libraries of the Detroit Medical Center hospitals. There should be time for a quick look around the libraries of your choice.

Wayne State's David Adamany Undergraduate Library

Eastern Michigan Library and University of Michigan

Another tour option is to head a bit west from Detroit on 1-94 to the neighboring communi- ties of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, where EMU and UM have some fascinating libraries and collections to share. The tour will first stop in Ypsi, where you’ll get a firsthand look at some impressive new library construction and con- cepts and then head on over to UM, where, after a quick bite on a charming campus, you’ll have a chance to tour some historic and im- portant facilities.

Eastern Michigan University’s Bruce T. Halle Library. Construction of the Bruce T. Halle Library was completed in May 1998, at a cost of to 800,000 volumes. The number of seats in- creased from 850 to 2,250. The number of computer workstations increased from 125 to 520. The num- ber of network connec- tions increased from 80 to 1,500 ports.

More than just bigger, the new Halle Library is an impressive architectural ac- complishment and a tran- sition from the traditional library to a what staff calls a “cybrary.” The Halle Library is a modem learn- ing resources and technologies system that pro- vides information on demand. The library fea- tures a computing commons, five computer learning labs, a faculty/staff training computer/ video room, a state-of-the-art video produc- tion facility, head-end facilities for all electronic media, a multimedia self-production facility, a teleconferencing room, two distance learning classrooms, a multimedia commons, an infor- mation commons, a multimedia auditorium, four multimedia conference rooms, and a fac- ulty commons. For more information: http://

University of Michigan. UM’s world-re- nowned collections are housed in many buildings throughout the sprawling campus, and you won’t have time to see them all, but your tour may be tailored to match your interests. Libraries of note at UM include the following:

Law Library—a 750,000-volume law library (independent of the UM library system), whose collection is in the primary subject areas of Anglo-American, foreign, comparative, and international law, serves students and faculty of the Law School, as well as lawyers, judges, and scholars.

Media Union on North Campus—a facility supporting the creative aspects of disciplines ranging from art, architecture, and music to medicine, engineering, and the humanities. The Media Union offers over 500 student computer workstations and extensive media production facilities.

The Media Union Library is a unique blend of traditional and digital library resources. The collection supports the research and instructional programs of the School of Art & Design, the College of Architecture & Urban Planning, and the College of Engineering. Its engineering holdings of more than 530,000 volumes are among the largest and richest technology collections in the country. Its art and architecture resources include a visual resources collection, architectural drawings, photographs, maps, and manuscripts. The library currently has access to over 200 databases providing information on subjects ranging from the Avery Art Index to U.S. patents.

Graduate Library—the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library is the UM’s primary research collection for the humanities and social sciences, with a collection numbering approximately 2,500,000 volumes.

Papyrus Collection—owned by the Special Collections Library and housed in Room 807 of the Harlan Hatcher Graduate Library, it has one of the largest, most varied, and most prestigious collections of papyri in the world.

Science Library—the Shapiro Science Library, occupying the third and fourth floors of the Shapiro Building, has a collection of over 400,000 volumes and is one of the largest science libraries in the country. It offers services and materials to support research and teaching in the fields of physics, astronomy, biology, geology, chemistry, mathematics, statistics, and the natural sciences.

Special Collections Library—tracing its roots back to one of the earliest Rare Book Rooms in the United States, it holds internationally recognized collections of books, serials, ancient and modern manuscripts, posters, playbills, photographs, pamphlets, and other materials. These collections are the primary basis of research for many scholars both at UM and from around the world.

For more information about the University of Michigan Libraries:

Other libraries in the Detroit area

In addition to the libraries mentioned above, the Detroit area is home to several other academic, special, and public libraries—too many to enumerate. If you’ve got some free time before, during, or after the conference, you might be interested in a quick drive uptown or across the river to see the following libraries.

University of Detroit Mercy. The only cosponsored Society of Jesus (Jesuit) and Sister of Mercy institution of higher education in the United States, the University of Detroit Mercy supports the teaching and learning focus of the university through its three libraries and two Instructional Design Studios. More than 600,000 volumes, 12,000 audiovisuals, and 89,000 government documents comprise the libraries’ collections. In addition to a rare book collection, holdings include original manuscripts of novelists Elmore “Dutch” Leonard and William Kienzle and the Marine Historical collection of over 20,000 photographs and negatives of Great Lakes ships. For more information:

Sacred Heart Seminary. Sacred Heart Seminary was the first seminary in Michigan, founded in 1919 and located in a temporary location until the current building, an English Tudor Gothic, was completed in 1924. The art and architecture include beams, trims, and furnishings crafted in solid oak—including some that were handcarved by German artisans— and the largest collection of Pewabic tile in the region.

The main room of the Edmund Cardinal Szoka Library is located in a space originally designed to be a crypt for the Bishops of Detroit. It was never used as such, and became a bomb shelter and storage facility prior to its renovation as a library in 1988. The library has the largest Catholic theological collection (with a Roman Catholic focus) in Michigan, but also offers source materials that are ecumenical in scope. Sacred Heart Major Seminary is located at 2701 Chicago Blvd., Detroit, Michigan 48206. You can also contact the library by phone at (313) 883-8650, or by e-mail at szokalibrary@

The University of Windsor. The Leddy Library is in Windsor, Ontario, Canada - just across the river and south of Detroit. The University of Windsor campus, situated at the foot of the Ambassador Bridge, is home to an international mix of 12,000 students in a broad range of undergraduate, graduate, co-opera- tive education and professional programs. It is one of Canada’s oldest universities with its roots in Assumption College founded in 1857 and it is now noted for programs in the creative and performing arts, environmental studies, automotive and industrial technology, atomic physics, biochemistry, clinical psychology and Canada/U.S. relations. This rich tradition is reflected in the library collections. The University Library System is comprised of the Paul Martin Law Library and the Leddy Library which houses the University Archives, the Curriculum Resource Centre, the Paul Vandall map collection, the Documents Collection, and the main collection including 2.3 million volumes of print material. Their collections, including those on moveable shelving, are available for public browsing; and they provide seating for over 1,000 readers. The Leddy Library is ranked among the top Ontario university libraries in online availability of electronic resources. For more information, visit http://www.uwindsor. ca/library/leddy.

When you’re in Detroit, whether you participate in a formal tour or are just poking around on your own, you’ll find yourself near the rich resources and historical buildings of the area’s libraries. Here’s hoping you stop in for a visit—you’ll be amazed by Detroit’s libraries’ proximity, depth, and beauty. ■

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