Library History

The information provided below is intended to provide an historical background to the current library building and operations. This description of events has been adapted from a booklet distributed at the official opening of the new library building on 29 August, 1998.


The first library at Avondale University was a small room (4 metres x 5 metres) at the top of the stairs in what is now College Hall. Students studying in the upstairs Chapel would request books from a student library monitor who would pass the books though a small opening in the door. By 1925, there were 2 300 books available. The emphasis was on theology, history, and English language. A limited number of titles on education and science were also available.

By 1945 the library had 5 000 books. A larger room (6 metres x 15 metres) on the ground floor of College Hall was made available, providing sufficient space for students to sit at tables to study books within the library confines. This room is now part of the Student Services lounge.

For many years, Charles Schowe carried the responsibility of librarian in addition to teaching Greek and History.

In 1947 student activities on campus were closely monitored. Visits to the library in the designated study period required the issue of a Library Permit card marked with the time the student left the dormitory, and the arrival and departure times from the library.

A Growing Collection

Pastor A FJ Kranz and Dr Hyde of the Theology Department cared for the library until 1956, when Dr A P Salom added the responsibility for the library to his teaching load of 17 periods a week.

Library shelves were extended to the ceiling, with a mezzanine catwalk for access to a collection that had increased to 8 000 books and 78 periodical titles. Seating was provided for 50 students.

When a new administrative and classroom block was constructed in 1961 it was the vision of Dr E G McDowell, the principal, to ensure that the library was the focal centre of the new building, and that adequate space was available to provide for the academic program of the College. The architect, Mr McKeirnan, reflected this concept in the circular reading room of the library, providing seating for 120 students.

First Professional Librarian Appointed

Mr Keith Clouten was appointed as the first professional librarian in charge. Under his expert guidance, the library flourished. Books and other resources increased. Even more importantly, students realised that their education was enriched as they learned to utilise the library in their study program.

From 1968-1970 Mr Brian Townend was Head Librarian while Mr Keith Clouten undertook advanced study in the United States . Library staffing levels had increased with the employment of a second professional librarian and a full-time secretary, supported by a team of part-time students.

Plans for Extension

On Mr Keith Clouten's return in 1971, the collection had increased to 24,000 books and space was again a problem.

Plans were made for major extensions, comprising almost 1000 square metres. The first stage of these extensions was opened in 1973, providing shelving and study space on the upper floor, with offices, the E G White/SDA Research Centre and a large open-air area on the lower level. For a few years, some of the office space was occupied by the Theology and Science Faculties. When the space was no longer needed by these departments the open area was enclosed, with several rooms being used by the Education Faculty.

In 1980, Mr Alfred Chapman served as acting librarian. In 1981 Mr Martin Ward was appointed as Head Librarian. Also during 1981 the Education Faculty and the resources of the Curriculum Laboratory moved to a separate building, enabling the library to expand its services to include additional audiovisual resources, and to house the Heritage Room of the South Pacific Division.

Further Expansion

Soon after Brian Townend returned as librarian in 1984, it became evident that the library services would be severely restricted unless the final stage of extensions planned in 1971 was constructed. Additional storage space was needed for books and periodicals. The increased use of audiovisual and electronic services placed new requirements on library space. The curriculum laboratory would be more efficiently used if it could be housed with the other library resources.

For several years architects wrestled with various plans that would meet both the specifications and the available budget. Finally, while Mr Michael Rigby was Head Librarian (1993-95), the frustrating delays were ultimately overcome when the Avondale Foundation accepted the challenge to raise sufficient funds to complete the project.

In 1994 several architects submitted proposals to the College outlining their concepts of how the library could be extended to allow both room for future expansion of the collections and student numbers and also to allow the curriculum collection and the audiovisual department to be included. Mr Tim Schwager's design was accepted. Consultation on finer details was concluded in 1996 while Mr Paul de Ville was Head Librarian.

Mr Schwager had an understanding of the concept of education for the whole person and he attempted to incorporate this into his design. As he was to say and write later '. . .we felt the library building had a sort of transcendent role on the existing campus, defining the volume of the open space and referring, by its shape, to the spiritual dimension as seen in the Church opposite. It completes the mind/body/spirit paradigm which underlies the Church's beliefs, the expression of a temporal life as well as an outer one in its corporeal dimensions.'

Opening of the New Library Extension

The ground breaking ceremony for the new Library building took place in August 1997 with construction beginning in November.

The Avondale Library Jeremic Wing was officially opened on Saturday, 29 August,1998.

Librarians since the appointment of the first professional librarian

Keith Clouten 1961 - 1967, 1971 - 1979

Brian Townend 1968 - 1970, 1984 - 1992

Alf Chapman (acting) 1980

Martin Ward 1981-1983

Michael Rigby 1993 - 1995

Paul de Ville 1995 - 1996

Jo Lloyd 1996 - 2005

Marilyn Gane 2006 - 2015

Michelle Down 2015 - 2019

Emma Kalaf 2019 -