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Archives Library History: History

College Archives

Library History


Main building of original Meredith's campus

In September 1899, when Baptist Female University (renamed Meredith College in 1909) opened, the library was one room on the second floor of Main Building. Like most college libraries at that time, the small size of the collection made a separate building unnecessary.

In an 1899 Biblical Recorder editorial, Trustee Josiah W. Bailey asked for donations, promising to purchase “150 of the very best works” for each $100 contributed to the library fund. The first person to donate books was another trustee, Rev. C. B. Justice, who gave a leather-bound set of Encyclopedia Britannica. Faculty members also helped, and by 1900 there were 650 volumes. In just two years, this number surpassed 1,000.


Reading Room located in Main building of Meredith's campus


The Catalogue of 1899-1900 noted hours: “The Library and Reading-Room are kept open morning and afternoon, except on Sundays and holidays.” Students also had access to the collections of State Library of North Carolina and Olivia Raney Public Library, both nearby in downtown Raleigh.

Books at Meredith were on open shelves, organized by courses. In 1910, the collection of 2,500 books was reclassified according to the Dewey Decimal System, and a card catalog was created. Various faculty members served as part-time “curator” of the library until 1911 when the college hired the first full-time librarian, Emma Moore Jones.


Library on 2nd floor of Johnson Hall

In 1926, when Meredith moved to its present location, the library was on the second floor of Johnson Hall, where it remained for more than 40 years. Although this library had a capacity of 20,000 volumes, as students, faculty, and courses multiplied, the space became inadequate. As early as 1944, a new library was among the goals of fund-raising campaigns.


Carlyle Campell Library, ca.1969


It was not until 1967, however, that ground was broken between Joyner and Hunter for a new library. Carlyle Campbell Library, named for Meredith’s president from 1939-1966, was dedicated in 1969 on Founders’ Day.



Notable events at Carlyle Campbell Library (CCL) include:

  • 1973: A studio camera using black-and white film, a videocassette player, and a television receiver brought video technology to the library.
  • 1976: Meredith became a member of Southeastern Library Network (SOLINET).
  • 1988: CCL became the first location on campus to be connected to the Internet.
  • 1991: Meredith Cable Television (MCTV) went on the air.
  • 1993: An electronic catalog, Automated Library Information System (ALIS), replaced the traditional card catalogs.
  • 1998: The interior of CCL was renovated and reorganized to accommodate 135,000 volumes and 42,000 non-print items.
  • 2003: A new electronic catalog from Innovative Interfaces, Inc. was installed.
  • 2006: Remote stacks facility built at another campus location to manage collections that had outgrown Carlyle Campbell Library.

Library departments include Administration, Archives, Circulation, Interlibrary Loan, MCTV, Media Services, Reference, and Technical Services.

Mission Statement: Carlyle Campbell Library advances knowledge, empowers learners, and strengthens the Meredith community, with three vital resources—our staff, our collections, and our physical and virtual spaces. 

Page written by Martha Fonville.




Carlyle Campbell Library.” Meredith College. Accessed 24 February 2004. <>.

Johnson, Mary Lynch. A History of Meredith College. 2nd ed. Raleigh, North Carolina: Edwards & Broughton Company, 1972.

Murray, Rebecca. This Essential Part: The First 1,000 Books of the Library of Baptist Female University. Raleigh, North Carolina: Meredith College Press, 1991.

Robinson, Carolyn C. The Vision Revisited: A History of Meredith College 1971-1998. Raleigh, North Carolina: Meredith College Press, 1999.

Whitley, Lynn. The History of the Library at Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1926-1969. Master’s paper, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Library Science, July 1980.

Zilper, Nadyezhda. The History of the Library at Meredith College, Raleigh, North Carolina, 1899-1926. Master’s paper, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, School of Library Science, April 1980.


All material on Archives pages copyright Meredith College unless otherwise indicated.