CSU Library History


Picture of original CSU Library

The Library first opened its doors in 1880 as a small reading room in the Old Main building. With each passing year the Library expanded its available space and grew to fill what is now the Music Building. Branch libraries were developed to meet the burgeoning needs of various colleges on campus.

In 1965, the new Morgan Library was dedicated. Although Morgan Library provided additional storage space, campus needs soon outgrew the Library’s ability to serve.

Picture of CSU Library construction
©1996 Photographic Services, CSU

In 1994, President Albert Yates designated the Library as a priority implementing the “A Promise Fulfilled” campaign to raise $22.6 million to renovate part of the Morgan Library and add a new addition. The library added several computer labs and an electronic information center. There were more than 300 public access computer terminals added so students could e-mail, pursue research on line, and work on special projects. The campaign was successful in that the Library grew to a size more fitting of the campus. The new addition and renovation was dedicated in 1998.



Morgan Library Flood 1997

When the gift-processing project was completed, the Library started to focus on bringing back the volumes damaged in the flood of 1997.  A test sample of 7,000 books was shipped from Texas at the beginning of 1999. These volumes were examined and evaluated by the library staff who determined that, at best, there would be a 60% salvage rate.


Damaged volumes are cleaned, freeze-dried and treated chemically and with gamma radiation for mold, bacteria and  yeast (germs that will spread throughout a collection). Books that are not salvageable are noted for replacement in a future phase of recovery. Flood recovery has been and will continue to be a monumental task for Morgan Library.

Once the freeze-dried books are processed, the Library will implement a collection augmentation program. Recoverable damaged materials will be processed then shelved with the already shelved gift books. Then, the Library staff will start to purchase books that are still needed to replace volumes lost. Despite strong advancements in the allocation and development of research databases, the flood put the Libraries’ digital resources under a microscope. Without research volumes and journals, users had two options if they needed a resource that had been damaged in the flood: to borrow through Interlibrary Loan or to access a database that provided the resources they were seeking. The Libraries moved quickly to prepare for the start of the Fall semester in 1997. The Interlibrary Loan Department developed new systems and electronic packages that resulted in nation recognition as a leader in document delivery. The Libraries also increased its database volume to 400 to serve students, scholars, and the Colorado community.


Picture of Morgan Library

Today, University Libraries provides comprehensive public access to an extensive array of information resources, and is able to expand the instructional, learning, and research potential of individual departments and colleges. Library services are offered to provide independent and mediated access to resources both within and beyond the CSU library collections. SAGE, the Libraries online catalog, is Web-based and includes links to a variety of resources on the Web. Users are offered immediate full-text display, download, and e-mail delivery options for thousands of journal articles.

The Libraries currently holds 2 million books and journals in its collection serving 22,000 students and 5,200 faculty and staff members. There are 20,000 journals, periodicals and serials.

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