The "Libe"

In 1982, a truck arrived behind the Gould Library carrying the parts to a brand-new German-made tower crane. It was to be used for the construction of an addition to the 1956 Carleton library that would double its size. The problem was that its assembly instructions were entirely in German. The dismayed crane operator entered the library and asked librarian Charlotte Lobitz if anyone there could read German. It turned out that he had found the right person. A recent German immigrant herself, Lobitz and her husband, Heinz, the college’s master carpenter, soon helped the crane operator assemble the massive structure.

The current Gould library combines the Carleton Memorial Library, originally built on that site in 1956, that was itself a replacement for the college’s first separately housed Scoville library, that had been built in 1896 next to the college’s entrance on First Street. In May, 1956, when the Carleton Memorial Library opened, a human chain of 890 students and 95 faculty members, along with alum and former Minnesota Governor J.A.A Burnquist, transferred 90,000 books to the new location. In 1995, the Carleton Memorial Library was renamed the Laurence McKinley Gould Library in honor of a recent Carleton president.

Currently, with more than 563,000 books in its collections, the library serves as the intellectual and social heart of the college. Students come by the hundreds to the ”libe” each night to study for their classes, meet with professors, and research essays and projects. The concrete pad on which the crane rested has become a Founder’s Court to honor major donors. It now supports a stone arch designed and built by sculptor Dimitri Hadzi.

Images

The New (and Current) Library

The New (and Current) Library

During weekday nights, bikes crowd around the libe's entrance as students gather to study for the next day of classes. | Source: Carleton College Admissions View File Details Page

The 1956 Carleton Memorial Library

The 1956 Carleton Memorial Library

Source: Carleton College Archives View File Details Page

Aerial View of Campus ca. 1959

Aerial View of Campus ca. 1959

The 1956 library occupies the top right. Almost thirty years later, the space in front will be occupied by the 1986 addition. | Source: Carleton College Archives View File Details Page

Installation of Tower Crane

Installation of Tower Crane

Here the tower crane installed with the help of the Lobitz is visible from the fields behind the Libe. Leighton Hall occupies the frame's right. | Source: Carleton College Archives View File Details Page

The Stacks

The Stacks

Carleton's Gould Library has enough book collections to fill four stories. It provides a variety of study spaces for students ranging from large group tables to individual study rooms. | Source: Carleton College Digital Archives View File Details Page

Video

Students Move Books on "L-Day"

Source: Carleton College Archives View File Details Page

Cite this Page:

Ben Weiss, “The "Libe",” NorthfieldHistorical, accessed April 24, 2017, http://northfieldhistorical.org/items/show/66.
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