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Ellis Old and New

General Reading Room

University Archives. Collection C:20/8/6

This photo, dated 1914, shows the General Reading Room looking east. It appears the room was still being put together. Notice how the light fixtures on the right lack the glass globes of the fixtures on the left. The door at the end of the hall has no handles and is purely decorative. There is a wall behind it at this time. This door would not be opened until the northeast construction to the library was completed in 1958. Today the beautiful original doors, or panels, have been replaced with something more utilitarian.

As the picture shows the coffered ceiling was not painted, nor was the raised wall molding. The General Reading was spruced up in 2003 and the ceiling and walls details were painted at that time. 

East view of Reading Room then and now 

General Reading Room looking west

University Archives. Collection C:20/8/6

This photo is dated 1915. It is looking west. Again, the door/panel in the middle of the room is purely decorative. The door would not be used as a door until 1935 when the west wing was completed. You might notice that the lights all have their glass now.

View of the Reading Room then and now.

General Reading Room looking south

University Archives. Collection C:20/8/6

This photo is dated 1915, and shows the General Reading Room is being used. The current room has a divider between the Reading Room and hallway to the south, but in this picture the room opens up to the hall.  Beyond the pillars you can see the Delivery Room. The windows on the south of the room brings in a nice natural light. The object shinning underneath the window is the circulation desk. This is where you would request books and where you would pick them up. You can see some cases for the card catalog and the picture of some dignitary on the wall. It is hard to make out, but the walls of the room are paneled.

The balcony above shows the third floor corridor. The door to the right of the picture would have led to the cataloging department.

View of the Reading Room then and now.

 

Picture of General Reading Room after West Addition

University Archives, Collection C1/141/6

This picture was likely taken during registration. It shows the entrances from the General Reading Room to the West Reading room being blocked off by tables. What is more interesting is that a second door has been cut into the wall. Although it is not visible, I think it likely that another doorway was cut into the square panel on the other side of the original door.   

Another picture of General Reading Room after West Addition

 

University Archives, Collection C1/141/6  

Another picture taken at the same time.

General Reading Room 1940s

University Archives, Collection C:1/80/2

This is an interesting picture of the reading room. The doors on the west end that had been opened when the West Wing was put up have been blocked by book stacks.   Eventually the square openings on either side of the original door would be filled in an put back almost as the had been.

Picture of Reference Desk

 

University Archives, Collection C:20/8/6

This is a picture from 1951.  In 1936 "a large reference desk with its equipment was installed in the old reading room. There will be a reference librarian or a student assistant at this desk available to search the public during the hours when the Library is open." 
Report of the Librarian 1936, p.1.

Another picture of Reference Desk

University Archives, Collection C:1/141/6

This is another picture of the Reference Desk.

Microfilm Reader incorporated into desk

University Archives, Collection C:1/141/6

This gentleman is using a microfilm reader that has been installed on a table in the Reading Room. The picture is undated, but it looks like the delivery room still has high ceilings and windows, so the picture must have been taken sometime before 1958 when the "light well" was closed.

Education Library with Rollins bust

University Archives, Collection C:20/8/6

This is a picture from the 1960's. At that time the General Reading Room had been turned into the Education Library. The bust is of James Rollins and had originally been located in the Exhibition Hall.

 

Reference Room

 

University Archives, Collection C:20/8/6

In the 1980's the room was turned back into the Reference Room.  By this time the two square doorways had been walled closed again. The door to the West Wing is no longer blocked by book shelves.

Square door on north

The square door on the north of the west wall was located here. Although the door has been filled in, you can see by the top of the shelving molding and the bottom of the footing where the shelves had been cut out and then replaced.

Square door on south

The square door on the south end of the west wall was located here. Although the door has been filled in, you can see by the top of the shelving molding and the bottom of the footing where the shelves had been cut out and then replaced.

South view - as it looks today

Reading Room - looking southwest

 

 

The long desks with individual lights are long gone. The wall decorations and ceiling ornamentation were painted in 2004. The beautiful doors on the west wall have been replaced. A partition has been erected in the area between the columns.

Reading Room looking West

Reading Room looking East

Reading Room looking east

Ceiling ornamentation

 

 

 

         Picture of the ceiling, originally white and
         painted in 2004. The wave decoration
         motif
is also used in the stairs.

Doors

 

 

Railing

 

Capital

 

Wall Decoration