University of Houston Libraries

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University of Houston Libraries
UH Libraries logo.png
Location Houston, Texas
Coordinates 29°43′16″N 95°20′33″W / 29.72100°N 95.34256°W / 29.72100; -95.34256
Branches 5
Size 2,231,199 volumes, 22,193 serials[1]
Access and use
Circulation 380,526
Population served 40,747 students, 3,624 faculty, UHS students and faculty, and general public
Other information
Director Dana C. Rooks, Dean of Libraries
Staff 201

The University of Houston Libraries is an academic library system of the University of Houston (UH) serving students, faculty, and the general public. The general collection library of the system is the M.D. Anderson Library. The system has three other branches—all of them existing on-campus at UH. Two additional libraries, the Conrad N. Hilton Library and Archives and the John O'Quinn Law Library, are managed and maintained by their home colleges. Through a collaboration among libraries, students and faculty of the University of Houston–Clear Lake (UHCL) and the University of Houston–Downtown (UHD) have the ability to check out circulating volumes.

Member libraries[edit]

M.D. Anderson Library is the general collection library of UH

Each individual library serves as a home to certain specialty collections of the university libraries. The following is a list of libraries on the University of Houston campus:

  • Conrad N. Hilton Library & Archives
  • John O'Quinn Law Library
  • M.D. Anderson Library (general collection library)
  • Music Library
  • Pharmacy Library (Closed and integrated with the general collection library)
  • Weston A. Pettey Optometry Library
  • William R. Jenkins Architecture & Art Library


Ruth Wikoff, the first professional librarian at the University of Houston

The original library of the University of Houston was established in 1927 when the school was known as Houston Junior College.[2] With 1,988 volumes, the library was housed as a section of the San Jacinto High School library, where the college shared building space. Ruth Wikoff was the school's first professional librarian. At the request of Wikoff, President Edison Oberholtzer relocated the library to its own space by converting the high school's music room.

The library at the Roy G. Cullen Building in 1945, one of the main library's early homes

After Houston Junior College became the University of Houston in 1934, and moved to its current location in 1939, the library was housed in the Roy G. Cullen building; UH's first permanent building. Although originally having only three staff members, the library continued to grow by continually annexing more rooms in the building. In 1940, the library had over 12,200 volumes, and by 1951, the library had 50,000. This same year, the library, with several benefactors' help and the M.D. Anderson Foundation, was able to build the M.D. Anderson Memorial Library as a new location. Hugh Roy Cullen and Leopold Meyer donated enough money to add 6,000 more volumes to the library before it was moved into the new building. Four years later, the library's volumes reached 145,000, and expenditures were $200,000.

The university then expanded the library services by creating the University of Houston Libraries system. The Weston A. Pettey Optometry Library began as a reading room in 1952 when the College of Optometry opened. In 1967, the Pharmacy Library was established in the Lamar Fleming building on-campus to primarily serve the university's College of Pharmacy.[3] However, in 2010, the Pharmacy library was closed and its collections integrated in the main library to allow the College of Pharmacy to reclaim the space.[4] Today, there are six branches.

In 1968, an eight-story tower was added to M.D. Anderson Library, and the Brown wing of the library was added in 1977.[5] The most substantial changes to M.D. Anderson Library took place in 2004 when a new wing was added. The new wing was built as a front entrance to the library, along with the John O'Quinn Atrium, and a 24-hour lounge area. The university hired James Sanborn, of Kryptos fame, to build a sculpture for the library. The sculpture, entitled A,A, was erected in front of the library in June 2004.[6]


  1. ^ "University of Houston: Report for 2006". ARL Statistics Interactive Edition. Association of Research Libraries. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  2. ^ Dressman, Fran. "Remembering Ruth Wikoff". The Library Edition: Summer 1997. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved 2008-04-24. [dead link]
  3. ^ Parkin, Derral. "Pharmacy Branch Library". The Library Edition: Spring 1997. University of Houston Libraries. Archived from the original on 2008-04-06. Retrieved 2008-04-24. 
  4. ^ Parkin, Derral (11 May 2010). "Pharmacy Library to close". UH Libraries Blog. Retrieved 17 June 2010. 
  5. ^ "M.D. Anderson Library: A Timeline". The Library Edition: Summer 2004. University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved 2008-04-24. [dead link]
  6. ^ Vasquez, Leticia. "Art that Speaks for Itself Enlightens New Sculpture". University of Houston Libraries. Retrieved 2009-05-07. 

External links[edit]