1920s  |  1930s  |  1940s  |  1950s  |  1960s  |  1970s  |  1980s  |  1990s  |  2000s


  • Mr. and Mrs. McFarlin announced to be the previously anonymous donors of the Library Building.  The building is expected to cost $175,000 and the plans are currently being drawn up.
  • The library is designated a Government Depository Library.


  • The McFarlin Family promises $275,000 to furnish the library.
  • The building contract is awarded to W. S. Bellows of Oklahoma City.
  • The library is now described as having four wings and a four story tower. One of the wings promised to be a luxuriously furnished “browsing room” with leather upholstered rocking chairs and settees as well as artistically painted walls and individual round tables.  It will also have a real log burning fireplace inscribed with Emily Dickinson saying “There is no Frigate like a book to take us lands away”.


  • A golden shovel was used to break ground for the new McFarlin Library.  The first dirt was turned by J. A. Hull, Chairman of the Board of Trustees.
  • The library is the first of 3 buildings:  McFarlin Library, Tyrrell Hall and Phillips Hall.
  • Alice Robertson, a member of the original Kendall College faculty who later served as Postmistress of Muskogee and was the second women elected to the U. S. Congress, is the speaker at the groundbreaking.


  • It is announced that the library will hold 180,000 volumes and the basement will have 1000 lockers to hold the property of individual students.
  • 70% of the outer walls will be constructed of Tennessee stone. Arkansas stone will make up the remaining 30 percent.  Green slate from Vermont will also be used.


  • Basement floors are completed and outer walls are under construction.  Fancy trimming stone for the basement windows is being shipped in from Bedford, Indiana.
  • Work begins on the first floor


  • The second floor of the tower is laid and work begins on the second floor south wing.
  • The building is being built of standing stone with no steel framework.  Skilled masons are very difficult to find and the building is taking longer to construct than originally expected.
  • Mrs. Mary Nettles, Head Librarian, is studying at the library school at the University of Virginia.  The Assistant Librarian, Miss Bonnie Todd, is studying at Simpson Library School in Boston.


  • The Junior class donates money for the purchase of books for the library.


  • The YWCA lounge has been completely furnished.


  • Local newspapers claim that the library should be open by February 1, 1930.


  • McFarlin Library is “most nearly finished” of the three buildings going up.


  • Students who have not paid their library fines are not permitted to take their final examinations.


  • McFarlin Library is dedicated June 1, 1930.  Tyrrell Hall and Phillips Hall are also dedicated at this time.
  • All books in the new building have been classified.


  • Edna M. Brown is named acting librarian. Miss Fern Antel will act as her assistant.


  • The three new buildings are put into use for summer classes.


  • The library is not open during the dinner hour or on Saturday or Sunday afternoons. 


  • John Rogers donates one hundred volumes of modern fiction to the library.


  • Alice Mary Robertson bequeaths her library and family papers to TU.
  • A 600 volume law library is given to TU by Grant Foreman.
  • The University of Tulsa museum, which is housed in the north wing on the second floor of McFarlin Library, opens to the public.  The museum contains items representing the American Indians and the headhunters of Borneo.
  • The first floor North Reading Room is designated for Engineers and the South room is for Arts and Sciences students.
  • Former TU graduate, Mrs. Kathryn Armstrong, becomes Head Librarian.
  • Library holds a “See the Museum Week”.
  • During the year, over 1200 volumes are given to the library by 36 individuals and organizations.


  • 100 students are on the library’s “black list” because of fines and books still out, so they can’t take exams.
  • TU library receives $10,000 gift from the Carnegie Corporation.
  • 1,314 new books are catalogued to bring the library total to 24,301.  19,439 books were issued for home use and 14, 042 were used in the library.


  • The YWCA lounge is in place with six beds, chairs and a cabinet.
  • Library hosts second “See the Museum Week”.
  • Caddo pottery collection is given to the Museum.
  • Library celebrates National Book Week with displays.


  • The libraries summer hours are 8:30 – 3:30pm Monday through Friday and 8:30 to 12:30 pm on Saturday.
  • Emily Phelps joins the library as Assistant Librarian and Head of Circulation.
  • Library posts regulations that outline the fees for the rental collection.  You may check out a book for one week for a nickel.
  • The letters and newspapers of the Alice Robertson Collection are catalogued.


  • McFarlin Library celebrates the centennial of printing in Oklahoma with a display.
  • Between 150 and 200 books are added to the Browsing Room.


  • Elizabeth Hunt becomes the new Head Librarian.  Bonnie Brown is the new Assistant.
  • The museum in the library closes.


  • The library collection is 37,160 volumes.
  • The library circulates a notice that absolute quiet is to be imposed in all reading rooms.  Also, eating, drinking, sleeping, sitting or lying on the tables is prohibited. “Normal library decorum” is to be expected.
  • Seniors donate two streetlights for the front of McFarlin.


  • New closing hours are announced for the library.  Monday through Thursday the library is open until 10:00 pm.  On Fridays, it closes at 8 pm.
  • New equipment is added to the library including 2 typewriters (one for foreign languages), a book press, a heavy stapling machine, 2 book cabinets, a paper cutter, and a system of pigeonholes for readers guides.  New flexifile equipment is being used for filing pamphlets that couldn’t otherwise be classified.


  • Leta Sowder becomes the new Head Librarian.
  • The second floor north wing is opened as a new reading room under the charge of Mrs. Avis Wilton.


  • Doris Cook, former McAlester High School Librarian replaces Mrs. Robert Wilton as Assistant Librarian
  • The Browsing Room is used as a theater for a production of “The Importance of Being Earnest.”


  • The library has over 60,000 catalogued volumes and over 40,000 documents and pamphlets. 
  • McFarlin Library is open 70 hours per week compared to the 56 – 60 hours for most university libraries its size. 
  • The library offers reference service to any citizen of Tulsa and has a separate collection of the latest publications on the war and the defense effort.
  • McFarlin Library is identified as one of the most complete geological libraries in the southwest.
  • The Engineering reading room is supervised by Doris Cook.  Bradford A. Osborn is the technical librarian.


  • Miss Leta Sowder, Head Librarian resigns to take a position as Chief Librarian of Arkansas State Library Board and is replaced on July 1 by Eugenia Maddox.  Ms. Maddox had previously been Head Cataloguer for the Tulsa Public Library.


  • Kathleen Burns, daughter of Dean Chase, becomes the new Reference and Cataloguing librarian, replacing Mrs. Charles Johnson.


  • Kathleen Burns arranges a display for Religion Week.


  • Returning WWII GIs begin intensively using the Browsing Room
  • The Geology Department moves into former YMCA space in basement of the library.


  • Library gets a “mezzanine” to serve as a 5th floor.  Shelves are removed on the 4th floor and new shelved moved to 5th floor.  This work gives the library six floors across the large open upper area of the tower.
  • Library gets new fluorescent lights.
  • McFarlin Library is selected as the repository of a large collection of periodicals owned by the society of Exploration Geophysicists.
  • An arsonist sets fires in the restrooms of the Library, the Engineering building and the Student Union.


  • The law library material is separated from the main collection and sent to TU’s downtown Law Center.
  • Dr. Murray’s geology class is locked in the basement and is caught by the night watchman while trying to sneak out the windows.
  • Library Handbook produced.
  • Keysort is used for circulation.


  • Microfilm Reader bought to read the Tulsa World and Tulsa Tribune.
  • Microcard Reader bought.


  • Tulsa World writes article about the soil sample library in the south basement of the TU Library.


  • Library becomes a selective depository of the Carnegie Research.
  • McFarlin Library receives a gift of the complete files of both the Tulsa World and Tulsa Tribune on microfilm.


  • Tulsa Bibliophile Rush Greenslade endows TU’s first rare book room.
  • Geology Department moves out of the south basement and the area will now be used for stacks.  Map cases and duplicate periodicals are moved to the north basement.  Walls blasted out of the basement to enable access to the elevator.


  • The library is featured in two TV programs produced by KOTV.
  • Furniture is donated by both the Stanolind and Sinclair Oil companies.


  • Stacks open for all students not just Juniors and Seniors with stacks permits.


  • TU builds North Campus including a branch technical library.
  • Library gets the 1892 – 1956 Sears catalog on microfilm.
  • The Associated Press publishes an article about how “hep” TU is because they had a card drawer with the heading “roc-rol”.


  • Jess Chouteau donates books to the library including two 15th century books.
  • Mrs. Pate Baker is the new library at the Evening Division and School of Law branch library.


  • A world globe is given to the library in honor of Dr. Carol Mason.
  • Rain floods the basement of McFarlin Library.


  • The branch library at North Campus is named the Sidney Born Technical Library.
  • Library receives a 350,000 card collection of abstracts from Standard Oil of Indiana.
  • The Kistlers donate a beautiful collection of books to the library.


  • The library installs air conditioning. McFarlin is connected to the Student Activities building to benefit from its excess air conditioning capacity through the tunnel.  The tunnel is paid for by the Federal Government as part of its fall-out shelter program.
  • 1948 Student Library Handbook is updated.
  • At this point, there are three main floors and 5 tower stacks.  There is a control desk where all purses, packages and bags are checked.
  • The north campus branch library gets a Xerox copier.
  • McFarlin undergoes some renovations as a tile floor, acoustical tile ceiling, and colorful walls are added.  New furniture is added to Browsing Room, South Basement, Seminar Rooms in the North Basement, the Order Librarians office, and cubicles for students wanting to use typewriters.  The Periodicals Department is moved from the basement to second floor.


  • The library installs a copy machine.


  • James Veasey, a TU trustee from 1927 to 1929, bequeaths his collection of American History books, focusing on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War era.


  • Rush Greenslade bequeaths his English Literature collection to TU.
  • The building of the five floor Chapman addition is announced.  This addition is designed by H. G. Barnard, A.I.A..  Tulsa Rig, Reel and Manufacturing Co. is the general contractor.
  • Plans to convert Harwell Gymnasium into a freshman library begin.


  • The Chapman addition to McFarlin Library is completed and the original structure is renovated.  The addition contains 35,000 square feet of space or room for 315,000 volumes and 639 student study stations. 
  • TU libraries contain some 290,000 catalogued books and government documents and more than 2,400 periodical subscriptions.
  • Harwell becomes the education library branch.


  • TU libraries contain approximately 320,000 catalogued books and government documents and more than 3,200 periodical subscriptions.
  • Guy V. Logsdon becomes the Director of University Libraries.
  • KWGS is located in the north basement of the library.


  • Erskine Caldwell collection and Dime Novel collection added to library.


  • Circulation of items to non-TU students, staff and faculty limited.


  • TU libraries celebrate the acquisition of the 500,000th volume. Elementary Arithmetic in Cherokee and English is donated by Rennard Strickland.  Angie Debo is the speaker at the celebration.
  • Former student and Tulsa businessman, John Shleppey, bequeaths a vast collection of Native American materials to TU.


  • TU President, J. Paschal Twyman, announces plans for a $3 million addition to the Library.
  • The Cyril Connolly Collection is acquired.
  • McFarlin Library receives a grant to join OCLC (originally the Ohio College Library Center now the Online Computer Library Center.


  • The library acquires the John Eliot Indian Bible, the F. Scott collection, the Edmund Wilson collection, the Robert Graves collection, the Jean Rhys collection, the Laura Riding Jackson collection, and the D. H. Lawrence collection.
  • The Cataloguing Department gets OCLC.
  • Construction on the west underground addition begins.


  • Record museum collection added.
  • David Farmer is hired as the first Director of Rare Books and Special Collections.  Before this the rare books and manuscripts were handled by the Humanities Librarian.


  • The Sidney Born Technical Library moves from North Campus to McFarlin Library.
  • A photo duplication center is set up in McFarlin.
  • One millionth volume is added to the collection.
  • New library addition dedicated.  The speech at the celebration is given by noted author Larry McMurtry.
  • Mr. and Mrs. E. R. Albert donate the sculpture El Nino Volador by Mexican sculptor Victor Salmones.
  • President and Mrs. J. Paschal Twyman present the courtyard fountain Apogee as their gift to the University.
  • Inter-Library Loan begins using OCLC.


  • McFarlin Library joins the OCLC library network.
  • Robert Patterson becomes Library Director.


  • Library acquires the Daniel Hamilton Collection, the Siegfried Sassoon Collection, and the Robert Frost collection for Special Collections.
  • The Library Associates program is established.


  • Anti-theft system is installed.
  • Reference, Card Catalog and Database search functions will be centralized on the Plaza Level.
  • Library adopts Library of Congress classification system and begins conversion of materials from the Dewey Decimal System.
  • Inter-Library Loan becomes its own department within the library.
  • University Archives is officially established.
  • McFarlin Library is favorably mentioned in a New York Times article on Tulsa.


  • Library gets LIAS (Library Information Access System) as its Online Public Access Catalog.


  • Library eliminates a cataloguing backlog of 436,000 items.
  • Browsing Room is remodeled and renamed the Faculty Study.  The second floor north is named the Student Study.
  • Special Collections acquires the Rebecca West collection, the Elizabeth Taylor collection and the David Emery Gascoyne collection.


  • Library is given 10 Memorex-Telex microcomputers for patron use and instruction.
  • Public LIAS terminals increase from 6 terminals to 12.
  • Automated inventory control implemented using LIAS (Library Information Access System).
  • Cards are still used to check out books.
  • First CD-ROM products are introduced in the library.


  • Library cataloguers get their own LIAS terminals on their desks.
  • LIAS used to check out books to patrons.
  • Irish poet Richard Murphy donates his papers to TU.
  • Preservation Lab opens.
  • Library acquires two millionth volume.
  • Public LIAS terminals get their first printer.


  • The family of J.B. Milam, Principal Chief of the Cherokee Nation from 1941 to 1949, donates his extensive library to TU.
  • McFarlin acquires the E. Nelson Bridwell and Willa Cather collections.
  • Photocopies cost $.05 each.


  • Oklahoma’s research universities (TU, OU and OSU) agree to reciprocal privileges with other universities for faculty.
  • Special Collections acquires the WWI collection.
  • Dr. Ben Henneke, TU President Emeritus, donates his research materials to the library.
  • A fiber optic LAN is installed in the library.
  • McFarlin becomes tobacco free.


  • McFarlin Fellows is created to provide funds for acquiring distinguished rare books and manuscripts.
  • Special Collections acquires the William Trevor collection, the Jean Rhys collection and the V. S. Naipaul collection.


  • The Reference Desk is moved to current location in the underground addition.
  • The library develops its first webpage.


  • The library adopts Innovative Interfaces as its new online catalog system.


  • Francine Fisk becomes the new Library Director.
  • 5,131 linear feet of compact shelving installed in 1998.


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