Cake, math books make for a unique 100th birthday celebration

In the midst of constant campus construction, some buildings quietly stand the test of time.

The Carnegie Library celebrated its 100th anniversary Thursday during a two-hour birthday party featuring speakers, cake, an array of rare mathematics books and historic photographs on display and discussion on the future of the library.

‘I salute this magnificent building and I hope, like all of us, it will eventually reach its full potential,’ said David Stam, university librarian emeritus, during his speech.

Stam was one of three speakers at the event held in the library’s second-floor reading room. He spoke briefly on the history of the building and how Andrew Carnegie donated $150,000 to help build the university library.

The library received the Von Ranke collection from the old library in September 1907, Stam said. This event marked the official opening of Carnegie.

Dean of libraries Suzanne Thorin spoke to attendees about future plans for renovations of the Carnegie Library as well as E.S. Bird Library.

‘I don’t want to let the renovation plans to go away on this side of campus while I work on renovations at the Bird,’ said Thorin, explaining plans for renovations at both libraries.

She said the focus is renovating Bird first.

‘This is an exciting time for libraries,’ Thorin said. ‘Everything has changed in the past 10 to 15 years, and this is mainly due to technology.’

Thorin revealed plans for upcoming changes to the Syracuse University libraries.

‘The Bird Library needs to update its functionality to meet the needs of today’s students and become a nexus for research, learning and collaboration,’ she said.

Planned changes at Bird include reconstruction of the bridge leading to and from campus, state-of-the-art classrooms, exhibition cases to document the history of recorded sound and other collections, a new seminar room for special collections hands-on classes, a research reading room and a learning commons on the first and second floors.

Thorin said the strategic direction in which the library is moving includes supporting current academic needs and research practices, making new connections across campus and building expertise in copyright and the study of Arabic and Spanish languages.

One of the main goals is to acquire more space for the library.

‘The collections within Bird Library have grown too large to fit in the building,’ Thorin said. ‘The solution is to build another site of campus.’

She said the library is currently working in partnership with New York University to build a collections center at Research Park.

Graduate student Hilda Soltani said she was glad to be a part of the library’s centennial celebration.

‘The fact that the building is 100 years old is amazing,’ she said. ‘I love the architecture of the building. You don’t see it very often.’ However, Soltani said she wished it had air conditioning because the classrooms get hot.

Also present at the celebration was Metod M. Milac, the first full-time music librarian hired in 1962. He said he hopes to see the statue of Diana the Huntress returned to Carnegie after the renovations are complete.

‘I remember walking up the stairs into the vestibule, and there was Diana,’ Milac said. ‘When the collections were moved to Bird Library after it opened, the statue was put in storage. It was finally taken out of storage after a few years and placed on the second floor of Bird.’

He said it became a tradition for students to rub the dog’s paw for luck before exams, causing the statue to tarnish. The statue currently is roped off to keep patrons from touching the paw.


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