September 26, 1997
UW-RF to Rededicate Chalmer-Davee Library
by Maria Franco
UW-RF News Bureau
The University of Wisconsin-River Falls' Chalmer Davee Library has come a long way since its meager beginnings as one small room, when the University was founded in 1874. In response to new and ever-changing technologies, the library has recently undergone significant construction and remodeling and on Oct. 8 at 3 p.m., the library will be rededicated in the name of Dr. Chalmer Davee.
The 21 month-long remodeling project added an extra 19,084 gross square feet to the library's existing 110,000 feet, and has improved a number of other features.
The building now includes a three-level entrance with a lobby area on each level, additional study space, additional shelving for book and periodical growth and a number of group study rooms. The project also added compact storage areas and an electronic bibliographic instruction classroom to the library. Also, Davee Library is now home to such services as the Academic Success Center, the Writing Center and Information Technology Services, including five computer labs.
In addition to the library rededication, the ceremony will include the naming of two rooms as memorials to past UW-River Falls staff members. The Red Computing Laboratory will be dedicated to Dan Lunderville, who worked as a senior information processing consultant in Academic Computing until his death in 1995. Lunderville worked to establish the original Red Lab in North Hall and maintained and connected it to the campus network and the Internet. He served as chair of the Academic Staff Council and received the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in 1987, the University's highest recognition award for professional staff.
The Richard A. Cooklock Room will be dedicated to the former Chalmer Davee Library director, who served in that position from 1954-1986. The room was the original entrance to the Library and is available for use by the University community.
Another addition to the library includes a light sculpture hung from the ceiling in the main entrance. "Sky Garden (A Zen Garden in the Sky)," was created by artist Ray King, of Philadelphia, Penn.
The rededication program will include written remarks from Gov. Tommy Thompson and University of Wisconsin System President Katharine Lyall. Speakers will include Chancellor Gary A. Thibodeau, Library Director Christina Baum, and Nicholas Karolides, associate dean of the College of Arts & Sciences.
A musical fanfare, composed specifically for the Chalmer Davee Library Rededication by music Professor Robert Brownlow, director of the UW-RF Brass Ensemble, will be performed by the Ensemble.
An open house and reception will follow the program.
When the University became a state college in 1951, the one-room library was contained in South Hall and held a total of 2,600 books. Significantly increased enrollment in the school after World War II made it evident that new programs and buildings were needed to accommodate the growth. In July of that year, the UW System Board of Regents approved a separate building for a new library, costing approximately $750,000.
The original dedication of the new library took place on May 5, 1955, in honor of Dr. Chalmer Davee, a River Falls physician and member of the Board of Regents who was instrumental in gaining the liberal arts accreditation for the school in 1951. At the dedication the library's collection had grown to 50,000 volumes.
The Davee library continued to change through the 1950's and 1960's. It was designated in 1962 as a federal depository library, serving the 3rd Congressional District of Wisconsin, and in 1964 as a selective State depository.
A $1.3 million addition doubled the space of the library and modernized the facility in 1969. This project brought the first coin-operated photocopier for student usage.
Major technological improvements continued in the library during the 1980' and 1990's, including the first on-line catalog, which replaced the card catalog format that had been used for over 100 years.
The most recent Chalmer Davee Library remodeling project, at a cost of approximately $7.1 million, was authorized by the State of Wisconsin Building Commission in April of 1995 and was completed in July of this year.
According to Virgil Nylander, vice chancellor for administration and finance, the outcome of the library remodeling project was definitely worth the wait and inconvenience of a project plan that required the Library to remain in use during renovation.
"When we look to the future, we look to the prize," Nylander said. "That prize is a new library that's much more compatible for student and faculty use." The library certainly has come a long way in the past 46 years. It has become much more than just a building, now holding over 200,000 books; it has become the information and knowledge center of the entire campus.