Elmer E. Rasmuson Library
The Elmer E. Rasmuson Library (often referred to in shorthand as either the Rasmuson Library or EERL) is the largest library in the U.S. state of Alaska, housing just under one million volumes. Located on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus, it is named in honor of Elmer E. Rasmuson. Rasmuson served on the university's Board of Regents from 1950 to 1969 and was chair of the board from 1956 to 1968. Rasmuson was a major supporter of expanding the library and moving it to its present location.
Collections include the Alaska and Polar Regions Collections & Archives, which encompasses books and periodicals, historical manuscripts and photographs, the oral history collection, newspapers, rare books and maps, and the Alaska Film Archives. It hosts Project Jukebox, which presents oral history recordings, film clips, photos and documents on a subject;, Alaska's Digital Archives, which digitizes photos and film clips and makes them available online, and the Alaska Film Archives. A special collection of Alaskana books is one of the largest in the world. The library is also home to the Congressional papers of longtime U.S. Senator from Alaska, Ted Stevens. Since the closing of Sheldon Jackson College and its Stratton Library in 2007, the EERL, along with the Alaska State Library in Juneau, are the foremost publicly accessible repositories for historical information related to Alaska.
The library is the main repository of federal government documents for the state of Alaska. They took over this task from the Z. J. Loussac Library when Anchorage implemented budget cuts which greatly affected its library system.
Rasmuson Library offers more than 400,000 e-books, and 200 online databases.
The library also has an extensive art collection, with works by Rusty Heurlin, Sydney Laurence, Alvin Amason and other sculptors and painters. Many of these artworks were donated by influential supporters of the university, particularly Austin E. Lathrop.
The library was founded in 1922, the same year classes began at UAF's predecessor Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines, with less than three thousand books. For most of its early history, the library was housed in a small building which doubled as the university's gymnasium and where the Constitution of Alaska was signed in 1956. The library moved to the Bunnell Building upon its completion in 1960, then to its present location in the Fine Arts Complex a decade later. It underwent a major expansion in 1984.