Bygone DePaul: John T. Richardson Library

Bygone DePaul is a series highlighting DePaul’s campus and how it has changed through the years.

JTR LibraryDePaul University’s libraries have nearly as rich and varied a history as DePaul itself. In 1898, the St. Vincent’s College building held a reading room but no space for books. When that building was torn down and the new College-Administration building (now Byrne Hall) was built in 1907, space was made on the second floor for a small library. It provided seats for 80 students. Plans were started in 1923 to build a free standing library on campus, but the Great Depression intervened. In 1928, a commerce library was opened in the Loop Campus in the 64 E. Lake St. In 1930, the Lincoln Park library moved to the Lyceum when the School of Music, which had originally occupied that building, moved to the Loop. In 1938 the Science Building (now O’Connell Hall) was constructed, which had space for a separate science library. It wasn’t until the Schmitt Academic Center (SAC) opened in 1968 that the Lincoln Park campus libraries were consolidated into one building. The newly consolidated Library took up the third and fourth floors of SAC. Today, the Loop Library is located on the tenth floor of the DePaul Center and Law Library takes up the 4th, 5th and 6th floors of the Lewis Center in the Loop. In Lincoln Park, DePaul University finally became home to its first free standing Library in 1992: the John T. Richardson Library.

The Richardson Library changed the whole look of the Lincoln Park campus. Seminary Ave. was closed off from Fullerton to Belden to create DePaul’s first quad; no longer was DePaul called the “Asphalt Academy.” The building itself was built in the contemporary Gothic style. It has room for 1,150 student seats, with shelving space for the next few decades. President Rev. Father John Richardson stated that “…the construction of our library serves as a symbol of our maturity, a benchmark for our preparation for a second century of service.” The Richardson Library is home to DePaul University’s Special Collections and Archives Department. Special Collections and Archives houses many of DePaul’s treasures and for a better look at what we have, stop by room 314 on the third floor of the Richardson Library!

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