West Virginia University Downtown Library

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The West Virginia University Downtown Library Complex is located between Clark Hall and White Hall on the West Virginia University Downtown Campus in Morgantown, West Virginia. It is one of four WVU libraries along with the Evansdale, Law, and Health Sciences. The building consists of two separate libraries – Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library and Downtown Library. Since the origin of the Downtown/Wise Library, the complex has gained four floors of study rooms and computer workstations, rare collections housed in the Wise section of the library, and a coffee shop.

Brief history[edit]

The West Virginia University Downtown Library was built in 1931. The original campus library was located in Stewart Hall, a beautiful Romanesque style building; however, the small size of Stewart Hall could not accommodate the growing student population, and University President John Roscoe Turner, among other university supporters, sought to build a new library. The University Library was then built on the former property of Israel Charles White which today stands between White Hall and Clark Hall.[1] A spectral presence was often felt on the 10th floor of the library and continues to manifest itself to this day.

In 1984, the University Library was renamed Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library. The Board of Regents chose to rename the library to honor Charles C. Wise, Jr. who was a lawyer and former student body president of WVU that had donated 4,260 acres (1,720 ha) of land to the WVU Foundation. A dedication ceremony was held on October 1, 1984.[1]

In December 1996, a meeting was held to discuss a multi-million dollar renovation and addition to the Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library. Located in the front of the original library, this addition encompassed 124,000 square feet (11,500 m2) with five new levels added (four above ground). The Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library and the new addition are connected by an atrium. A giant skylight filters sunlight into the room, cascading down the original facade of the library.[1] The library was completed in the spring of 2002.[2]

Facilities & Features[edit]

The Downtown Library is a state-of-the-art facility centrally located on the Downtown Campus. Since renovations, the library has become not only a haven for those studying for various tests, but for group meetings, media projects, and intensive research. Notable features of the library include:

  • a collection of over 300,000 books
  • 209,638 square feet (19,476.0 m2) in space
  • 1,200 public seats
  • an atrium connecting the renovated Wise Library to the Downtown Campus Library
  • 2 restored large reading rooms
  • 18 group study rooms, 16 with 42-inch high-definition television screen, keyboard and Internet connections to allow users to work on group projects or practice presentations
  • 4 rooms equipped with 42-inch high-definition television screen and DVD/VHS player for viewing films and other media
  • electronic classrooms
  • 191 public computers
  • 20 iMac workstations and 12 multimedia iMac stations
  • 60 Dell and 30 Mac wireless laptops
  • reading tables with outlets for laptop computers
  • carrels with desktop computers
  • lounge seating
  • a view of the downtown campus and Morgantown's waterfront

Services Offered[edit]

Interlibrary Loan and E-ZBorrow Services[edit]

Interlibrary Loan (ILL) services are extended to all WVU students, faculty, and staff. ILL and E-ZBorrow can borrow materials from other libraries for patrons. ILL requests items from libraries all over the world and can take 3 days or more. E-ZBorrow requests books from other academic libraries in the PALCI consortium and generally takes 4+ days.


Eliza's, a coffee shop, is located on the fourth floor of the library. It is named after Eliza J. Skinner, Library Director, 1897 – 1902. Eliza's offers Starbucks coffee, fruits, bagels, tea, and other foods.

Community Access[edit]

The public may access the books and government documents in the building. For further access, a resident or non-resident borrower's card is needed. This card is offered to those who wish to check out materials and obtain access the library's computers.

Special Collections[edit]

Appalachian Collection[edit]

Located in the James V. and Ann Pozega Milano Reading Room on the third floor of Wise Library, the Appalachian Collection consists of literature of the 13-state Appalachian region. The collection is named after the Appalachian Mountains which run from New York to Mississippi. Subjects include cultural stories of coal miners, music, pollution, crafts, traditions, wildlife, religion, social conditions, and more.

Government Information Services[edit]

Located on the first floor of the library in the Research Services department, Government Information Services includes publications from the state and federal government. Federal publications are gathered and processed at the Downtown Library and sent to other libraries by subject.

West Virginia and Regional History Center [3][edit]

Located in the Wise Library, the West Virginia and Regional History Center houses the largest archive relating to West Virginia. It has the largest collection of West Virginia newspapers and guides to research in folk music, genealogy, and archives/manuscripts, public records and an in-depth bibliography. The Center has an online digital collection and photographic archives, which can be found at http://wvhistoryonview.org/. The Center also houses the rare books room, and various special collections including the International Association for Identification's library, which also has a digital collection located at http://iai.lib.wvu.edu/.

Literary Landmark[edit]

In October 2006, the Charles C. Wise, Jr. Library at WVU was made a Literary Landmark by the Friends of the Library Association U.S.A. (now United for Libraries) in partnership with WVU Libraries, in recognition of the university's connection with West Virginia poet laureate Louise McNeill Pease and its efforts to preserve her writings and personal papers in the West Virginia and Regional History Center. The plaque, hung in the atrium, reads "The writings and personal papers of Louise McNeill, poet laureate of West Virginia from 1977 [sic 1979] to 1993, are housed in the West Virginia and Regional History Collection. McNeill is beloved for her depiction of West Virginia's life and lore in Paradox Hill, the historical Gauley Mountain and Elderberry Flood, and the autobiographical Milkweed Ladies."


  1. ^ a b c Moyers, Mildred (1999-06-09). "The Brief History of the WVU Libraries from 1931" (PDF). West Virginia University. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  2. ^ Boso, Luke. "The Charles C. Wise Library: A Retrospective" (PDF). West Virginia University. Retrieved 2014-01-21. 
  3. ^ "West Virginia and Regional History Center". WVU Libraries. Retrieved 2014. 
  1. http://www.wvu.edu/
  2. http://www.libraries.wvu.edu/
  3. https://www.libraries.wvu.edu/libraries/downtown/features/

Coordinates: 39°37′59.6″N 79°57′14.0″W / 39.633222°N 79.953889°W / 39.633222; -79.953889