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UNF From the Ground Up

Thomas G. Carpenter Library

History of the physical library building.
August 8, 1978 Groundbreaking
October 1, 1980 Grand Opening
August 15, 1981 Dedication
Speech by UNF Interim President Dr. Andrew A. Robinson
Speech by UNF Library Director Andrew Farkas
Commencement  Address by Distinguished Professor
Dr. Frank McLaughlin
2004-2005 New Library Addition (Building 12) Construction
December 2005 New Library Addition Opening
October 5, 2006 Library Celebration



Dr. Thomas G. Carpenter was the first President of UNF and served from 1969-1980. Previous to his UNF appointment, his career included tenure at three other state universities (UF, FAU, UWF), rising through the ranks from graduate assistant and later Assistant Professor at UF to President of UNF. Upon his resignation, at the initiative of then Student Government Association President James Pearthree, with legislative approval the university library was named Thomas G. Carpenter Library, the first of all campus buildings to be named.

As the founding UNF administrator, he personally directed the physical development and initial academic organization of the University. He was a strong advocate of the Library as a cornerstone in the educational process and saw it develop during his tenure into an invaluable regional and state resource.

The Library Dedication ceremony on August 15, 1981 immediately followed the Summer Commencement. Distinguished Professor Dr. Frank McLaughlin gave the Commencement Address, emphasizing the significance of the Dedication, and the role of the Library within the University.

After 11 years as President and with the University firmly established, Dr. Carpenter resigned and returned to his alma mater, Memphis State University, as its President. It was the concluding phase of a distinguished career. He retired from Memphis State in 1991, but returned to UNF to speak at the University's 30th Anniversary ceremony.

For detailed information on Dr. Carpenter's pivotal role in establishing the University, see From Scratch Pads and Dreams: a Ten Year History of the University of North Florida, by UNF professor Dr. Daniel Schafer.

After many years of anticipation and planning, in May 2004, construction began on a four-story addition to Building 12. The building took approximately 12 months to design by the architectural firm Rink Design, and Turner Construction received the contract for the new construction and the renovation of the old sections of Building 12.

A re-design of service areas included the relocation of major public service areas. Access Services (previously Circulation and Media Departments) and Special Collections moved to the first floor. The Government Documents collection and personnel (previously on the third floor) were incorporated into the Reference Department on the second floor. The General Collection stacks were divided for future growth between the third and fourth floors, journals and bound periodicals remained on the third. A substantial number of individual and group study rooms were added to the first and second floors. A major change is the exclusive first floor access to the Library (facing west to parking lot 2), as opposed to the previous second floor inner campus public entrance.

The new addition to the Carpenter Library added 79,000 feet to the 120,000 square feet of the old building, increasing the rated capacity of the facility from 800 to 2,000 visitors.Total completion cost of the new facilities was approximately $22.5 million. The new addition opened to the public in December 2005.



For information on other UNF buildings, return to "UNF From the Ground Up".  

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