410 South Third Street    River Falls, WI 54022 715/425-3567 archives@uwrf.edu


     Chalmer Davee, 1903-1983
Chalmer Davee, 1903-1983

Who is Chalmer Davee?

The Chalmer Davee Library building was dedicated on the Wisconsin State UniversityŚRiver Falls campus on May 9, 1955. Its namesake, Dr. Chalmer Davee (1903-1983), was once a student at the River Falls Normal School, graduating from the three-year teaching program in 1922. Davee served as a commander in the U. S. Navy in WWII and went on to become not only a teacher, but a medical doctor as well as a member of the Wisconsin Board of Regents (1945-1953). As regent, Davee played an instrumental role in broadening the mission of the university and obtaining the liberal arts accreditation for the school in 1951. Chalmer Davee was chosen as namesake of the building because of the increasingly large and diverse library collection which reflected the growth on campus and the creation of new programs that came under his regentship.


 Chalmer Davee Library History Highlights (1875-2002)
Standing with a model of the Davee library building in1955: left to right: author-lecturer Howard Pierre Davis, Chalmer Davee, WSC-RF President Eugene Kleinpell, Lt. Governor Warren P. Knowles, and WI Regent W. D. McIntyre.
(Left) Standing with a model of the Davee library building in1955: left to right: author-lecturer Howard Pierre Davis, Chalmer Davee, WSC-RF President Eugene Kleinpell, Lt. Governor Warren P. Knowles, and WI Regent W. D. McIntyre.




Chalmer Davee Library History Highlights


  • River Falls Normal School opens
  • Library facilities established in Normal School building
  • Students charged $1.00 to rent textbooks and reference books
  • Originally a student acted as librarian earning a salary of $100 per year


  • Miss Isabelle Patterson became the first official librarian
  • Library remodeled, cataloged and classified


  • Library received separate budget expressly designated to purchase books and library materials

1897, Nov. 29

  • Fire destroyed Normal School building. Good portion of library materials were saved


  • Library switched from Cutter classifying system to Dewey Decimal system


  • 7,300 books in the library’s collection
  • Conference of Normal School librarians held in Oshkosh. It was a first step toward unification in the library system


  • With the addition to campus of North Hall, the library was moved into the old assembly room in South Hall


  • Little growth in the book collection. Only 2,854 volumes were added. Total of 15,063 volumes.


  • Library had reading table space for 120 students.
  • Annual library appropriation of approx. $5,000.
  • Library had 17,000 volumes.


  • First Faculty Library Committee composed of Lucille Haddow, Maude Latta, J.H. Owens, Margaret Eide, Rhea Gibson


  • 19,898 volumes in library’s collection


  • Book rental fee, which had increased throughout the years, stood at $40 per year.
  • Drop in enrollment led to a reduction of the library’s book budget.


  • Library Committee reestablished and produced report stating that longer hours of service were needed and that silence should be more rigidly enforced in the library.


  • Library now had four staff members.
  • Open 55.5 hours per week, four of which were evening hours until 9pm and 3 hours on Saturday mornings.
  • Regional document depository established.


  • New library building completed in the spring.


  • Music Listening Lab Room and phonograph record collection incorporated into library’s services.
  • Library Director Richard Cooklock prepared a student library handbook intended to serve as a simple guide to library usage and directional guide.
  • Library Committee attempted to increase reading by students with a paperback book exchange, “Bring One – Take One”.


  • Early 1960s, library holdings had grown to 45,285 books a gain of 15,426 from the previous decade.

1962, Aug.

  • Library received government publications depository status
  • Regional document depository expanded into an Area Research Center, partly because departments could not locate information needed for the school’s centennial history. Information once scattered throughout campus was now centrally located into the ARC.


  • River Falls created the first Union List of Periodicals holdings for 9 campuses.


  • Library switched from Dewey Decimal system to Library of Congress cataloging scheme.


  • Construction of 70,000 square foot Library addition began.


  • Installation of book theft detection system in September. Estimated loss of books from 1969-1977 was 6,261 books. Numbers greatly reduced after installation of security system.


  • 180,441 volumes in library’s holdings


  • Three microfilm readers purchased.


  • Budget problems plagued university libraries throughout the state
  • Despite budget limitations, 6,531 books were added to the collection
  • Total book holdings now 198,261 volumes


  • New computer equipment added to library includes an Apple IIe and NEC Spinwriter printer.
  • Four manual typewriters added to assist students in typing papers.


  • Obtained first searchable database, along with needed microcomputer, printer and modem.


  • Average number of database searches per month was 14; yearly total of 158.


  • First generation of automated library catalog. LS2000, made its debut in circulation, reserve and acquisitions
  • Barcodes became standard form of patron identification in circulation department
  • Bibliographic instruction room completed.
  • Harriet Barry Gallery dedicated.


  • New security system installed.
  • Received a $35,130 grant to support Internet access


  • Instituted library liaison program to facilitate book purchases for academic departments campus-wide


  • NOTIS system implemented system-wide


  • Home page on WWW created for the Chalmer Davee Library.
  • Formal information technology plan for the library was incorporated into the University’s IT plan


  • Construction began on the $7.1 million library remodeling project.


  • Library received funding from the Laboratory Modernizing funding to purchase equipment for the BI room.



  • Library rededication ceremony was held October 8, 1997.
  • Richard A. Cooklock room dedicated same day.
  • Record-breaking 196 bibliographic instruction classes were taught in the library during the academic year.


  • New library online catalog implemented called Voyager

Sept. 2000

  • Library book sale nets over $800 for new acquisitions.


  • Universal Borrowing debuts at UWRF.


  • Library acquired its first collection of e-books (Net library). .


  • Reference librarians conducted 151 library instruction sessions for 3,427 students.


  • "Find Your Dream" breezeway mural dedicated.


  • Listening/Viewing Rooms were upgraded. New equipment added includes DVD players.


  • Walk-in library orientation sessions started to orient students to library’s numerous services.

Nov. 2002

  • Library book sale nets just over $1527 for new acquisitions.