The Harleigh B. Trecker Library traces its roots to 1939 with the establishment of the
Upper floors of the “old” Hartford High School (left) were the first of several locations for the new program which from its inception had a library. In the early days, the librarian played a number of significant roles including, according to the late history professor Freeman Meyer, “supervisor, librarian, registrar, secretary, and bookseller.”
During the 1930’s and 1940’s, the program and its library moved to various schools as it continued to advance. World War II brought a huge growth spurt as UConn was called upon to train factory workers for the military effort. What was once a small extension effort blossomed into a full-blown branch campus in 1946 as war veterans returned and sought heavily subsidized college educations under a federal government program called the G. I. Bill. Through this period the library, started in the corner of a room, soon occupied one and then several rooms (right).
In the early 1950’s, the Hartford Branch moved to its first real campus at an
In 1970, the Hartford Branch moved from
The Hartford Branch library served mostly undergraduate students but three other graduate-level libraries also figure into the history of the Trecker Library. In the early 1960’s, the University’s Law School moved from a west-end Hartford mansion to a newly built campus on Asylum Avenue in West Hartford. This splendid edifice contained a state-of-the art (for its time) library space which would eventually become the home of the current Trecker Library.
And finally, the Hartford-area Masters of Business Administration operation, which until 1985 occupied its own
The 1985 date just mentioned is a pivotal one since that is the year the
The name “Harleigh B. Trecker Library”, celebrating a long-time dean (right), was already in use for the Social Work Library and so it was carried over to the new operation a few months after the combined library was put into service.
The Harleigh B. Trecker Library of today has changed in many directions since its opening almost 25 years ago. Photos of the Law School Library just before it became Trecker (left) show very typical library operations of the time with books and journals packed into thousands of feet of shelf space, huge tables for consulting massive reference tomes, extensive card catalogs, and staff members demanding quiet.
Users visiting the library now find digital collections steadily supplanting paper resources, an online catalog which has replaced hundreds of drawers in the old card catalogs, internet terminals for connecting to the web, “soft seating”, and group study spaces for “quiet noise while in search of knowledge.”
Through the years, though, one thing has not changed: the desire of the library’s staff to work with the campus community to give the best service possible to meet a variety of important academic needs.
November 1, 2007