McFarlin Library Building

McFarlin LibraryMcFarlin Library was built in 1929 at the same time as the Tyrrell Fine Arts Building and the Phillips Petroleum Engineering Building.  McFarlin Library was the first of the three new buildings to be erected and was selected as the central feature.  The library became the major axis of the campus and its location dictated the future growth of the campus.

The fine craftsmanship and materials that went into these buildings reveal a commitment to quality not often found in construction today.  Crab Orchard sandstone from Tennessee, Bedford limestone from Indiana and green slate from Vermont, all variegated materials, and a small amount of blue limestone were used by Henry C. Hibbs, Nashville architect to obtain the desired architectural effect.  The walls of all three structures are of solid stone, 15 inches to 24 inches thick, furred on the inside with two-inch clay tile.  There is no steel frame.  Slate roofs are placed on tongue-and-grooved wood sheathing, insulated and protected underneath by a reinforced concrete slab.  All flashings and gutters are of copper.  Steel casements glazed with a delicate shade of leaded cathedral glass form the windows.  Stained glass medallions add to the overall beauty of the windows.

McFarlin campus aerial Rising from the middle of the building is the tower which originally contained an electric elevator, stairs and a spiral book chute.  The first floor of the library contained the catalog room, librarian's office, work space, lobby and entrance vestibule.  The three other floors and their mezzanines were devoted to book stacks.  Because the University had more students living off campus than on, locker rooms were installed in the basement (men on one side, women on the other) so that personal belongings could be housed.  The women's locker room had a several day beds where the young women could rest if they felt the need.

McFarlin Library McFarlin Library McFarlin Library McFarlin Library



Browsing Room 1930sReading rooms were situated in both the north and south wings on the second floor and in the north wing of the third floor while a browsing room was provided in the south wing of the third floor.

Celotex tiles from the Reading RoomsStenciled acousti-celotex ceiling tiles still decorate the spaces between the beams of the ceiling in some of these rooms.  In 1961, air-conditioning installed by the construction of a large underground tunnel/fall out shelter carrying chilled water from the Student Activities building.  Four large air handling units were installed on the third floor of the library.  During this project, the dynamite used to open the exterior wall cracked the tower, which, according to witnesses, "rang like a bell".  Renovations took place during the rest of the building to modernize the work spaces.

 In 1967, the east wing of offices were demolished and a new, larger east wing designed by H. G. Barnard Jr. was constructed.  This added 5 floors of office and shelving space which expected to accomodate 20 years of growth.  Features such as the original building's bathroom tile style were carried over. Tulsa Rig Reel & Manufacturing Company was the general contractor.

In 1977-9, the original front, west porch was removed and an underground stacks space was built around an open atrium, and covered with a plaza.  McCune McCune & Associates and H. G. Barnard Jr. were the architects.  Flintco was the general contractor.  The roof of this addition is the Albert Plaza.

In 2007-9, the 4th phase of the building took place adding a north technology wing designed by Hasting and Chivetta Architects, Inc., of Saint Louis, Missouri, to house computer labs.  Construction was done by Lowery and Hemphill Construction.  At the same time, major renovations were also done to the interior of the rest of the building.