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|Location||South of University Green; Center of Ball State University campus|
|Named for||Alexander M. Bracken|
|Design and construction|
|Architect||Walter Scholer & Associates; The Perkins and Will Partnership, Chicago|
The Alexander M. Bracken Library is the main library on the campus of Ball State University. Completed in 1975, the facility is located in the geographic center of campus and is distinguishable for its unique, Brutalist architecture with an exterior resembling a shelf of books.
The main collection of Ball State's University Libraries, the Bracken Library holds a collection of over 1.5 million books. It also has a collection of CDs and DVDs, its own archives and special collections unit, and access to 90 academic databases and its own Digital Media Repository. The library is one of the largest in the United States by square footage, having a space nearly equal to seven football fields spread over five floors. 4,200 students utilize the library's services daily. The Bookmark Café, serving coffee, sandwiches, and pastries, was added in the spring of 2007.
A recent addition to the Library is "The Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Global Digital Complex" which, according to Dr. Arthur W. Häfner, Dean of University Libraries, "brings tremendous new capabilities to the University Libraries for offering new and exciting services in support of teaching, learning, and research using emerging and mature media."
In fall 2011, Bracken Library became the home of the university's Unified Technology Support when a new technology store and support center were added to the first floor. In fall of 2015, the Office of the Vice President For Information Technology was moved to the first floor of Bracken Library, located behind the Unified Technology Support offices.
Archives and Special Collections
The Archives & Special Collections collects, preserves, and provides access to archival and printed materials that support the research and instructional needs of the University. This unit offers access to collections of photographs and archival documents, such as the Middletown Studies Collection and Stoeckel Archives of Local History, for research, class projects, instruction, or publication, including scanning upon request.
Educational Resources Collections
The Educational Resources Collections support classroom instruction across the University campus with a variety of media materials and circulating digital equipment. The Collections support coursework leading toward teaching certification in Indiana with access to K-12 state adopted textbooks, youth books for pre-school through grade 12 reading, and curriculum resources for K-12 instruction.
GIS Research and Map Collection
The GIS Research and Map Collection (GRMC) is an integrated GIS lab and traditional map collection, which consists of a wide range of geospatial materials, including over 145,000 paper maps, GIS data, atlases and more. The GRMC has its own computer classroom with over 25 workstations along with two plotters to print maps and posters. The GRMC is used not only by the University community, but also by major corporations from across the country.
The Music Collection contains musical scores, books on music and music recordings, with more than 17,000 CDs in a wide variety of genres. The Music Collection also has an extensive selection of Music Reference books and staff members with advanced degrees in music to answer music reference questions. The Music Collection also has a listening laboratory for courses in music history, appreciation, and theory; and computers with Finale 2008TM music notation software that allows users to compose their own music and play it back.
The Helen B. and Martin D. Schwartz Special Collections and Digital Complex is a collaborative and interactive instructional environment. Its spaces digitally connect students and faculty to the numerous digital media assets and special collections available through the University Libraries, allowing students and faculty to reach across the globe to understand better the stories and customs of world cultures through digital media. The Complex also provides access to media from around the world — a digital “newsstand” that provides access to international media, broadcasts, podcasts, and multimedia.
- The design of Bracken Library is said to resemble a stack of books.
- "Forest Idyll" is a statue located in the center of the library's foyer and is one of the most common places for meeting on campus. The statue is a nude woman with two deer, and is more commonly known as "The Naked Lady". During the school year, students will leave notes at her base indicating informal meetings throughout the building.