Carnegie Building

Carnegie Building

The Carnegie Building, formerly the Carnegie Library, served as the university’s first dedicated library building.

When the university was established, it did not have a library building; instead the university president would lend students his books from the building that acted as his residence and the university’s administrative building.

After fire destroyed the president’s home, the university set up a library in the first floor of the school’s newly built administrative building, Biddle Hall. The library contained 2,500 volumes, including newspapers and magazines donated by scholarly ministers.

It became clear that the growing university would eventually need a dedicated library in order to properly serve the scholars seeking an education there. Dr. Daniel J. Sanders, the university’s first black president, wrote to philanthropist Andrew Carnegie who agreed to give the school $12,500 to help build the library, if the school could come up with the same amount to form an endowment to maintain the gift.

It took the administration roughly six years to raise the money but the building’s cornerstone was laid on November 15, 1911, and the building was named after its benefactor Andrew Carnegie. The library opened just before the university’s 44th commencement ceremony on May 30, 1912.

Upon opening, the library included 8,000 volumes and featured 16 foot ceilings on the main floor which included a reading room and a stack room, as well as a lecture room on the lower level.

The Carnegie Library was kept in use until increased enrollment and expanded academic offerings made it clear that a larger facility would be needed to support the school. The Carnegie building served as the school’s library until 1969 when the James B. Duke Memorial Library became the school’s primary library building.

Today the Carnegie Building is home to JCSU's HBCU-UP and OASIS programs for students in the College of STEM.