Coram Library

Coram Library (1902-1973)

1902 Coram Library opens. The library books are transferred from Hathorn by hand-cart over a wooden track stretching from Hathorn to Coram. There are 20,972 volumes in the collection. Estimated cost of building and equipment is $51,000. The library extends its hours and opens Saturday evenings for the first time.
1903 Blanche W. Roberts (Class 1899) is hired as assistant librarian.
1905 The Eurosophian Society gives its books to the College Library.
1908 The Reading and Reference Rooms are open from 7-9 p.m. four evenings a week (M-Th) for male students only.
1909 Blanche W. Roberts (Class 1899) is appointed Librarian. Mabel Emery Marr becomes assistant librarian.
1910 Caroline Woodman and Blanche Roberts organize a required Freshman orientation. Topics include the use of the card catalog, dewey classification, arrangement of the library, magazine indexes, and the most important works of reference.
1913 The library of the Cobb Divinity School, some 4,000 volumes, is added to the College Library.
1916 The Library is now open every weekday evening from 7-9 p.m. Borrowing privileges are extended to graduates of the College and to the clergy of Lewiston and Auburn.
1921 There are 48,701 volumes in the library. Circulation is 13,766 volumes per year. Mabel Eaton, (Class 1910), is appointed assistant librarian.
1926 Library extends evening hours to 10 p.m. Statistics on the use of reserve materials are kept for the first time.
1929 Circulation of reserve books is 62,261. The basement storage area of Coram is renovated. Equipped with new lighting and tables and chairs, it serves as the periodical room.
1932 Reclassification of books according to 1932 edition of Dewey is begun. To ease the crowding of both workspace and storage the library moves the “dead” books to the loft of the building. The Librarian’s office is turned into the reserve book room, the History Seminar Room on the 2nd floor is turned into the cataloguing room, and the old cataloguing room is turned into the new office of the Librarian. The library now opens at 8:30 a.m. in order to make it easier for students to return books before 9 a.m. classes.
1935 Government funds enable the library to hire 7 student assistants for projects, including a thorough cleaning of books. Cataloging of the Freewill Baptist material begins. The Librarian advocates additional funds for purchase of periodicals. Iva Foster is hired as cataloger.
1940 The library is open for the first time on Sunday. Hours are 2:00 p.m. – 5 p.m. There are 73,000 volumes in the library collection. Student enrollment is 749, the largest in Bates’ history. The President calls for the establishment of a Library-Commons Fund to raise money for a new men’s commons and an addition to the library building. Bates has a graduating class of 109.
1943 WWII has caused a severe decline in student population. The first semester enrollment is 84 men and 312 women. The second semester there are 64 men and 284 women. The Navy V-12 Program begins in the summer bringing in close to 300 additional students. To accommodate this, the school goes on a tri-semester program – sixteen-week semesters beginning July 1, November 1, and March 1. Blanche Roberts, Librarian since 1909, retires. Mabel Eaton is appointed Librarian and Iva Foster is appointed assistant librarian. There are an additional three full-time staff. The library has grown to 79,209 volumes. Eaton reports “It is becoming more difficult each year to postpone the day when the collections of this building will burst their bounds.”
1948 Renovation of Coram begins. During renovations library offices are housed in Roger Williams Hall. Staff urge faculty and students to take home as many books as possible. Books are stored in nearby barns and around the walls of the indoor track.
1949 The addition to Coram library is completed — Coram is now “the most modern library east of Boston.” The library houses over 85,000 volumes. It is expected to be able to hold an additional 200,000 books. The Rice Collection, the Stanton Collection, and the Baptist Collection, are housed in special rooms on the second floor of the main building. There is also a new typewriter room. The new addition is nicknamed “the fishbowl”.
1957 Iva Foster is appointed Librarian. The library has an additional staff of 6. The collection has grown to 105,000 volumes.
1969 The Library building plan is prepared.
1970 Consortium formally established between Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby.
1973 The “fishbowl” is demolished to make way for construction of Ladd Library.


Hathorn | Coram | Ladd