Ladd Library

George and Helen Ladd Library (1973-present)

Read an introductory essay about the Ladd Library building and its history.

1973-74 The George and Helen Ladd Library is completed, though the basement floor remains unfinished and is used only for storage.
1975-76 Joseph Derbyshire is hired as Librarian. An inventory of the library’s collections, the first in 30 years, is completed. Total number books in collection 154,542. Advisory Committee on Periodicals is created. Bates joins OCLC.
1976-77 Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby libraries agree to extend over-counter borrowing to all faculty and students of the three colleges during the 1977-78 academic year. The three colleges explore the possibility of creating an on-line union catalog of holdings in cooperation with NELINET.
1979-80 Library Committee submits plans for the completion of the Ladd Library. Maine Conference on AACR2 held at Bates. Re-classification project comes to an “official” end with 90% of Dewey titles re-classified.
1980-81 Construction for completion of the library ground floor begins.
1982-83 The ground floor expansion of the library provides 40% more space for materials and 40% more seating capacity. The expansion also creates a new Audio department, a microform reading area, a typing room, a staff meeting room, a serials and binding area near the refurbished Coram stack levels, and open stack access to government documents. Current periodicals are moved to the ground floor. The old staff room becomes a conference room and re-named the Mabel Eaton Room.
1982-83 3m security system is installed. The Special Collections is created and moves into old Audio space on the 2nd floor. Librarian reports for the first time a count of separate collections in the library: 202,183 volumes, 921 Dewey classification, 73,940 bound periodical volumes, 131,181 government publications, 7,336 sound recordings, 7,336 volumes in Special Collections. Library acquires Berent Collection.
1983-84 100,741 cards are filed in the main Card catalog. Strong recommendations are made for converting to an on-line catalog.
1985-86 Circulation exceeds 90,000 for first time (96,168); an additional 19,815 sound or video recordings are circulated from Audio. Database searching is extended to students for the first time with careful screening of users. Reference staff perform 68 on-line database searches for 26 faculty and 37 students. In addition to DIALOG, the library extends its access to Wilsonline and VUTex. Library begins collecting works of music on compact disc – six compact disc players replace reel-to-reel players. Librarians at Bates, Bowdoin, and Colby formerly request their administrations to fund a joint integrated automated library system.
1987-88 Muskie Archives ends eight year association with Ladd Library. Librarians at Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin settle on Innovative Interfaces Inc., for automated system. Paula Matthews is appointed Assistant Librarian. Library is filled to 88% capacity.
1988-89 The collection has grown to 535,175 classified volumes, government documents, and bound periodicals. An automated Services Librarian is hired and a phased program implementation of automated system is begun. Installation of acquisitions -serials system is made on schedule. Librarian includes separate fund reports for first time.
1989-90 Library completes first full year with on-line acquisitions module for Acquisitions department. Ad-hoc committee to support library automation project is formed. New wiring is installed and test database of Bates on-line catalog is up and running. A steam pipe bursts in periodical stacks damaging over 100 bound volumes of periodicals. Cataloging barcodes the library collection. 100,350 cards are added to the card catalog – the last year this will need to be done. Serials Department is formed as part of reorganization of Technical Services.
1990-91 The On-line Public Access Catalog goes up. Card catalog is removed. Retrospective Conversion 99% complete.
1991-92 First year with a fully operational on-line library system. Automated Services librarian is appointed to the Computing Council, thereby taking first step to greater integration between library and computer services. Compact shelving on ground floor installed. All-night study area is closed.
1992-93 Expanded Academic Index is made available on-line.
1993-94 Joseph Derbyshire retires. Paula Matthews is appointed acting Librarian. All staff become salaried employees. Library is now open until 1 am during the week; 10:00 pm on Saturdays. There are 585,041 volumes in the library.
1994-95 Eugene Wiemers is appointed Librarian of the College. Work begins on long-range building plans. Smoking is banned in the library. Librarian joins the Information Services Management Team. ILL now accounts for 6% of circulation to Bates users. There are seven electronic databases available for researchers.
1995-96 Renovation of the library building gets support of the College to begin first phase over the summer. Collection liaison program completes first year. Revised serials budget to be divided by subject. LADD computer upgraded. First library homepage is up and running. All technical services staff move from ‘dumb’ terminals to MAC or PC workstations.
1996-97 During the summer, the main floor of the library is renovated. This is the first of three phases of library renovations. Main floor operations are relocated temporarily to spaces on other floors. Planning begins for CBB libraries to introduce enhancements to Innovative software. Reference expands hours to include Sunday afterNoons. Staff Implements the use of e-mail for overdue notices, recalls, fines, and bills.
1997-98 Staff focuses on using WEB to improve access and services and to make transition to electronic collection. Administrative Group formed. Circulation explores electronic reserves. Full cataloging of government documents is improved through Marcive. Staff begins to catalog electronic journals. Goals review implemented.
1998-99 Library is closed from end of May through the end of August for the second phase of renovations. The ground and third floors are completely renovated. The photocopy rooms and periodicals collections on the main floor are reconfigured. The Librarian reports: “Sprinklers, fire alarms, and smoke detectors are installed covering every square foot of the building. About a football field’s worth of new carpet was installed, along with miles and miles of power and data cable.” Staff packed, moved, stored, and re-shelved 250,000 volumes (approx 124 tons). Through the Mellon grant staff implemented the CBB virtual catalog, allowing users to find and request materials from all three college libraries. A new Library web-site is created.
1999-00 Archives, computing, library, media and telecommunications services are integrated into a single unit called Information and Library Services.  Head of Information Services and the College Library appointed to Associate Vice President and serves as a part of the President’s Senior Staff.  Muskie Archives and Special Collections staff draft new combined collection development policies in anticipation of their merger. Following the retirement of Mary Atchison as Head of Cataloging, acquisitions, cataloging, processing and preservation functions are reorganized into a single Technical Services department.
2000-01 Maine Info Net for statewide borrowing of books is implemented in January.  Bates again is among the top 10 lenders of materials in New England. Library renovation is complete. Furniture plan will be implemented in 2001-2002, with improved seating and more network ports for laptop computers.
2001-02 Reviewed current practices regarding retention and storage of bound journals, as well as preferences for electronic versus print subscriptions, and consulted with the Library Committee about this general direction. Inaugurated College Archives program in the Edmund S. Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library and begin to process records including President Harward’s presidential records.
2002-03 Conducted a user survey of library services by participating in LibQual+, which showed the high degree with which the Library meets user expectations and needs. We revised the student hiring practice in Access Services in the Library, reducing the number of student workers and assuring two regular staff members will be on duty during all open hours. Purchased Millennium software from Innovative Interfaces Inc. (in collaborative purchase with Bowdoin and Colby) and began planning for conversion of Circulation, Cataloging, Acquisitions, and Serials.
2003-04 Implement ILLiad (Web processing of interlibrary loan requests and Web posting of results).  First shipment of 11,000 volumes sent to off-site storage. Begin streaming of audio content for course-related listening.  Help Desk Services moves to main floor of the library.
2004-05 Complete Re:Discovery implementation in Archives.  Develop more routine workflows for weeding/storage of library collections.  Integrate instructional offerings into First Year Seminars, including curriculum on plagiarism.
2005-06 Complete the Bates College Oral History Project which includes 48 interviews with students, alumni, faculty, staff, trustees and presidents. Implemented NExpress (book lending among a group of NE academic libraries) with Bates library staff serving in leading roles.  Updated and revised the collection disaster plan for Ladd Library and Muskie Archives.
2006-07 Roll out the user-initiated NExpress article request function providing a source for a significant proportion of our ILL article traffic.  New procedures and information regarding copyright permissions, including new Library services in preparation of course packs. Establish procedures for obtaining copyright permissions for course-related materials in the course management system.  Begin Muskie Archives processing project funded by National Historical Publications and Records Commission grant of the arrangement and description of 200 linear feet of accruals to the Edmund S. Muskie papers.
2007-08 Work with others in academic support areas of the College to conceptualize and build a Learning Commons on the main floor of the library.  Continue to work on CBB Mellon plan for cooperative collection development including a unified approval plan for books. Implement joint CBB library catalog view and related features (AquaBrowser).  Explore automated link between library management system (Millennium) and Banner to process invoice payments and student fines.
2008-09 Developed a database-driven solution to highlight E-Resources. Purchased and configured the web-based LibGuides as a substitute for our manually updated Subject Guides.  Configured Google Analytics for usage statistics on library web site. Work with Physical Plant and outside contractors to complete replacement of Ladd Library HVAC system to provide temperature and humidity control by next academic year.
2009-10 Full review of Library web sites, conducting usability testing to improve clarity and usefulness.  Make significant progress with records from Dean of Students’ office, Office of the Treasurer, CMR and others which will result in pressure on collection storage space for the Archives.  Reviewed the current state of off-site storage, examining cost, use, and performance of the systems already in place. Conducted a significant sweep for lesser-used items, and ultimately pulled 39,000 items for delivery to William B. Meyer facilities. This will set the stage for baseline measurements of collection storage needs in order to build a Learning Commons in the building.  Continue to make improvements in access to audio/video collection, including browsable collection display, replacement of VHS format, and improved viewing room facilities for group viewing.
2010-11 Work with College Store to implement course “Texts” service, treating the Library’s copies of required reading materials as reserve items.  Celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Muskie Archives and Special Collections Library.  The current Director curated an exhibition of illustrated books, “Bound to Art” which was on view at the Bates Museum of Art with full-color, 40-page catalogue, funded in part by a Faculty Development Grant, accompanied the show.
2011-12 Revised and updated our “strategic directions” document that has guided annual and long-term planning since 2005.  Complete plan for Learning Commons with a re-visioning of library services and the freeing about 3,000 sq. ft. of floor space along with the project.  With Honors Committee leadership, published all 2012 honors theses in electronic form on SCARAB and instituted a process with technical and copyright education issues for all future honors theses.  Improve proxy access to licensed information content for off-campus use with the deployment of EZproxy. Deployed iPads to research librarians and others to learn about these devices, and how to help others use them for their work.
2012-13 Roll out new library WordPress website with the new Bates web design.  Research staff achieves the highest percentage of first-year seminars (89%) outreach yet, and promote use of RefWorks, SCARAB, and Etna, a secure storage system for research data.  Work on the development of Maine Shared Collections Cooperative with seven other large Maine libraries with agreements on retention of printed books so that the research collections of the state are preserved for the future.
2013-14 Bates library staff led the effort to combine the library catalogs of Colby, Bates and Bowdoin (CBB) colleges into a single database, thus saving tens of thousands of dollars per year for each library in software costs, and providing the opportunity to divide certain cataloging processes among the three libraries (reducing staffing costs), while simultaneously improving service to the users.  Continue to work with CBB partners to refine collection development plan, incorporate ebooks into the plan. Move all DVDs into open shelves to enhance browsing. Implement Summon, a significant new “discovery” tool for student and faculty research to extend access to the electronic content the library subscribes to beyond what is in the catalog. Expand the program to include high cost “textbooks” in addition to trade book assigned readings. Acceptance was very high and cost per use continues to be low.  Switch our scholarly documentation software to EndNote and successfully transition all faculty.
2014-15 After 20 years of service to Bates College, Vice President for Information and Library Services Eugene Wiemers retires on June 30, 2015.  LibrarySearch+ (Summon) is fully integrated into our website now as one of the prominent search options, which includes catalog records, many journal articles, and other electronic research resources.  Staff in Collection Management, Bibliographic Services and Research Services worked together to acquire, catalog and house Krista Aronson’s research collection of childrens’ books, the Picture Book Project, which is now available for on-site consultation, circulation and interlibrary loan.  Archives staff implemented Preservica, a service that promises long-term retention of archives in electronic format.

Staff in Research Services actively pursued new Twitter followers with news of the Library, and updates on publications of Bates faculty members. @BatesLibrary now has 261 followers.

2015-16 Katie Vale comes to Bates as the new Vice President for Information and Library Services and Librarian at Bates in September 2015.  Research Services assumed administrative function of our Digital Commons instance, SCARAB, to better accommodate the storage, description, discovery, and delivery of more of the digital products generated from our faculty and students.  Conduct an extensive review of ongoing commitments in light of our third year with a flat collections budget, resulting in approximately $50,000 in cancellations. Access Services Staff completed the inventory of the entire collection which was started during Short Term 2015.  Completed a renovation to welcome the Academic Resource Commons to the first floor of Ladd, adding a large, bright, modern space for students to access academic tutoring and writing assistance. The ARC renovations also included a cozy new area for reading periodicals and magazines. We also installed a Faculty New and Noteworthy Display to highlight the latest published works by our faculty, prominently featured near the front door. In cooperation with the college Sustainability Manager, Ladd began lending “green bikes” to students.
2016-17 Katie Vale died unexpectedly on Nov. 27, 2015.   Andrew White, Director of User Services, agreed to become the Interim VP for the department.  ILS participated in the MISO survey with generally very positive results, though physical comfort in the library needs improvements according to students.  (98.9% average satisfaction with overall library services.)   We began a process of raising faculty awareness of and engagement with open access opportunities including establishing a CBB affinity group for Scholarly Communication and Open Access.  Continued work with Prof. Aronson’s Picture Book Project has developed into a nationally-known online database collection tool, Diverse Book Finder.


Full annual reports covering 1994 – 2015 from the Library and those included in the larger ILS department are at:    

More recent years are on the Library web site:


Hathorn | Coram | Ladd