Originally dedicated to those who served in World War II, Memorial Library is the major research library in the state of Wisconsin. This is particularly true in the academic areas of Social Sciences and Humanities. It is also considered the "graduate" student library at the University of Wisconsin. Its numerous reading rooms and expansive collections make it a perfect place for study on campus.
Backstory and Context
The lack of a library building for the ever-growing student population of the University of Wisconsin was becoming more and more apparent after the end of World War II. As a result, the construction of Memorial Library became a priority for the university and construction began in 1950. In 1953, the new facility was completed and Professor Emeritus L.C. Burke transferred the first book, the Coverdale bible, from the historical library building to Memorial Library. In 1900, L.C. Burke, then a student, carried the first book from the old library on Bascom Hill to the historical library building.
The building was dedicated on February 1, 1953, in the theater at Memorial Union. The keynote address was given by Howard Mumford Jones, an alumnus of the University of Wisconsin. In the library itself, a plaque dedicating the library to those who served in the armed forces during the Second World War was installed in the west entrance (now the exit). Memorial Library underwent two other major renovations, one in 1973 and one in 1987. Additional plaques honoring those who served in the Korean War and Vietnam were installed in the south entrance (now the primary entrance). Memorial Library serves as the primary research library for the humanities and social sciences.
Feldman, Jim. The Buildings of the University of Wisconsin. Madison, Wisconsin: The University Archives, 1997.