Hunter Library is the university library at Western Carolina University and is located in Cullowhee, North Carolina. The library, which is a medium-sized facility, was built in 1953 on the former football field and was enlarged in 1967 and again in 1983. The building is named after Hiram Tyram Hunter who was President of the University from 1923 to 1947. Hunter Library contains about 700,000 volumes in print, 14,000 media items, and over 1 million items on microform. The library also provides access to tens of thousands of journals via electronic access. While Hunter Library offers a wide variety of resources, the persistent rumor that Hunter Library is the largest library in North Carolina west of Charlotte is patently untrue. Hunter Library is also a part of the Western North Carolina Libraries Network (WNCLN) with Appalachian State University and the University of North Carolina at Asheville.
Hunter Library has three floors and two mezzanines. The main floor includes reference books, current and bound periodicals, government documents, microform, maps, leisure reading, and audio/visual materials. The Library's primary service points, circulation and reference, are also located on the main floor. The ground floor is where the general stacks of monographs reside, as well as some older reference items. The perimeter of the ground floor also has group study rooms, available on a first-come first-served basis, and lockable study rooms, available on a limited basis to faculty only. The Technology Commons also occupy part of the ground floor of Hunter Library. The top floor houses Hunter Library’s Special Collections as well as the administrative offices of the Library. The two mezzanines are occupied by the Curriculum Materials Center (CMC mezzanine), which houses teaching materials and children's books, and Lower Level Mezzanine, which houses older bound periodicals. The building itself is also home to a coffee shop, Western Carolina University’s Writing Center, the Faculty Center, the Faculty Sandbox, and the Testing and Tutoring Center.
Of particular note in the Library is Special Collections. This restricted access section of the Library has papers and photographs related to Horace Kephart's life in North Carolina, the history of Western Carolina University and surrounding area, and manuscripts related to the Cherokee Indians, the cultural and natural history of western North Carolina and vicinity, and literary works of native or naturalized North Carolinians who reside in the area. Special Collections also maintains the Cherokee Phoenix project, which translated and digitized selected articles that appeared in the Cherokee newspaper from 1828-1834.
Hunter Library is involved with a grant-based project entitled "Craft Revival: Shaping Western North Carolina Past and Present" that is funded a Heritage Partners grant from the North Carolina Library Services and Technology Act. According to the project website the purpose of the grant is to "... create a web-based digital history of the historic effort to revive handcraft in the western part of the state. The project draws from a wealth of documents, letters, photographs, oral histories, and objects that tell the story of the Craft Revival during the half century from 1895 to 1945." The Library, in conjunction with its Heritage Partners (John C. Campbell Folk School, Mountain Heritage Center, the Penland School of Crafts, and the Southern Highland Craft Guild) has created a project website where the story of the craft revival movement in western North Carolina can be read, as well as where information regarding the types of crafts can be found.
The current Dean of Library Services is Dr. Dana Sally.