Library History (1949-1954)

 Construction of Robert L. Pierce Library

 Construction of Robert L. Pierce Library, 1953. (Photo courtesy of UW-Stout Archives)

The dedication of the $600,000 new library occurred June 4, 1954. It was designed to house 107,000 volumes and had a main reading room seating capacity for 250 students.20 Special features in the library included seminar rooms, study carrels, a visual aids room, a recording and microfilm laboratory and a typing room. The students did the actual transfer of books from Harvey Hall to the new structure. On "M" day, March 9, of the same year, classes were closed and Stout students and staff moved approximately 40,000 volumes to their new location.

 "M" Day, March 9, 1954.
Stout students and faculty move the library from Harvey Hall to the new building.
(Photo courtesy of UW-Stout Archives)

M-Day 

In 1960 the library building was named after Robert L. Pierce. Pierce was a well-known resident of Menomonie who had spent twelve years on the Board of Regents and was also a member of Stout's governing board for twenty-one years. He died in 1968.

Robert L. Pierce Library

During the cold war years the library had encounters with censorship. In 1949 Chairman John S. Wood of the House Committee for Un-American Activities wanted Stout to furnish his committee with a list of all the text books on campus.21 President Fryklund immediately complied with the request, but following an uproar against censorship throughout the country, no further requests were made at Stout or other institutions of higher education.

However, President Fryklund attempted to influence library and textbook purchases by asking to approve all textbook purchases and suggesting the library purchase a number of anti-Communist books. Regarding textbook purchases, he writes to Ms. Froggatt, "Another example - I have disapproved one book on Philosophy of education because I happen to know that the author of the book is just too "red" and he [sic] can read borderline thoughts in his writings.22

One year after the completion of the new library building, Lillian Froggatt retired from Stout as Faculty Emeritus. She spent the following years traveling and as an active member in several clubs in Menomonie. Following her death after a tragic car accident in 1969, Dr. John Jarvis, Vice President for Academic Affairs at Stout, stated: "She was the most conscientious person I've ever known. She dropped everything she was doing to help you in the library."23 

Phyllis Bentley was promoted to head the library in 1955. She had come to Stout a year earlier as an assistant librarian. Prior to that she had worked at Beloit College and the Mankato State Teacher's College.

 Phyllis Bentley
Library Director, 1955-1971
(Photo courtesy of UW-Stout Archives)

 Phyllis Bentley

She received her B.A. from the University of Wisconsin and her M.S. from the Columbia University School of Library Science.

 --Kevin Thorie 

1936-1948 |  1949-1954  | 1955-1966