St. Procopius College Library, Benedictine Hall (1901 -1963)
St. Procopius College's library resided in Benedictine Hall from the time of the college's move from Chicago to its current campus in Lisle until 1963. The first library was located on the third floor where it served the campus for 27 years until being moved to the first floor where it remained for the next 35 years. It is during this time that the library's collection grew from a mere 7,000 volumes consisting of encyclopedias, dictionaries, classical works, and magazines and newspapers to over 40,000 volumes.
The First Library
The first library, located in the northwest corner of the third floor of Benedictine Hall was at its core a reading and billiards room. Students had access to 7,000 volumes in a multitude of languages, although the volumes did not circulate. Several thousand more volumes were purchased in 1918. In the following years, the college continued to broaden the library's academic range by adding several hundred volumes to the collection each year, eventually necessitating that the library space be enlarged to accomodate the influx. By the end of its time at the original location, the reading room held regular hours in the evening and students were allowed to check out books.
The Second Library
"With the addition of several hundred books each year, even the spacious enlargements made in 1918 were insufficient...We are to have a first-class library with wholly new shelving and equipment, and with all the methods and practices that will render our institution the most efficient service...In short, within a few months the new library will be one of the distinctive departments at St. Procopius College. It will raise the standard of our college; it will bear evidence to the truth of the cognomen of the Benedictines -- book collectors."
- "The New S.P.C. Library," Student Life, 1927
In 1927, the auditorium located on the first floor of Benedictine Hall was renovated to become the new St. Procopius College library. New shelving and equipment were purchased to accomodate 40,000 volumes--a number that allowed for growth. The new libary also had a formal circualtion desk and all day service. By 1963, despite additional shelves having been added to the stacks, the library had reached over-capacity. A new facility was needed.