A recurring problem that the new library had to face was the student demand to increase the number of hours it was open. For years there was a struggle between the student and the administration with the library caught in-between. In 1957 Stout's Library ranked first in the State College System in terms of being available to students, but by 1974 it fell to eleventh place out of thirteen when the hours were cut back because of a reduction in funding.24 Student reaction against this was instantaneous and a sit-in was proposed. Bowing to pressure, the funding was restored and the library resumed its regular hours.
Another difficulty the library had to meet was the increasing loss of books and magazines. This had been a problem since the library was first established. In 1960 Bentley proposed that a series of checkpoints be created so that patrons could be checked before leaving the library.
Subsequently, turnstiles were installed and people were asked not to take their coats and briefcases into the stacks. This may have slowed the theft of materials, but it did not stop it. In addition, it created a sense of hostility between the patrons and the checkers. By 1978 it was estimated that $200,000 worth of material had been stolen since the founding of the library.25 In that same year the electronic security system was installed and losses were cut significantly.
Crowded Reading Room in Robert L. Pierce Library, 1963
(Photo courtesy of UW-Stout Archives)
When the new building was completed in 1954 it was expected to house the library for fifty years.26 At that time no one had foreseen the tremendous growth that would occur at Stout and the resulting expansion of the library. A stopgap measure was initiated by building an addition onto the library, but it was recognized that an entirely new facility would have to be built. In fact, a considerable controversy went on as to the advisability of expansion because of architectural difficulties; however, the Board of Regents ruled against a new library building at that time.