"Information is the currency of democracy." - Thomas Jefferson
"Libraries enable the past to talk to the future. " - Edward Cornish
The Frank Lee Martin Journalism Library today is a much different place than the one Sarah Lockwood Williams created 100 years ago. Sarah, both faculty and wife of Dean Walter Williams opened the journalism library in a small room in Switzler Hall with a special appropriation of $300, 92 donated books, some newspapers and a Missourian clippings file. Students managed the collection.
By 1920, the library moved to Neff Hall, became a branch of the main library and Julia Sampson became “Assistant in Charge of the Journalism Library. ” Ms Sampson, had attended Stephens College and had worked at the main library for 5 years.
In Ms. Sampson’s 1920 annual report, she noted that the journalism collection numbered over 1,000 cataloged books, 100 magazines, 50 city newspapers, 50 foreign newspapers, and 10 foreign magazines.
The journalism library moved once more in 1937, when Walter Williams Hall was completed. On May 15, 1942, the journalism library became the Frank Lee Martin Memorial Library – dedicated to the memory of a dean who had helped transform the world of journalism education. The library employed a closed stack collection until 1961 when it was open for browsing and self-retrieval.
In 1974 the Journalism Library was temporarily housed in Ellis Library rooms 103 and 104 for a year while renovations to the Walter Williams location were made. The renovation more than doubled the shelf space. New tables and chairs provided seating for 72 in the upstairs reading room and 6 in the lower level stacks, now connected by a spiral staircase. The library was rededicated on April 24, 1975 after moving back into the renovated space.
In 1985, technology came to the library with the first online catalog.
When Dean Mills and Roger Gafke envisioned the Donald W. Reynolds Journalism Institute back in the early 1990s, a journalism library was part of that vision. During construction of RJI, which included renovating Walter Williams Hall and the former Sociology Building, the library moved once again – this time to the basement of Neff Annex – in 2005. It remained there until August 2008 when we moved into our wonderful new space in the Reynolds Journalism Institute.
During the last 100 years, the journalism library has evolved along with the faculty and students its mission is to serve.
It still preserves the history and tools of the profession, but it also strives to provide access to a universe of emerging information for students, scholars and practitioners throughout the world.