The Library: Renovations, Modernization and its History

A brief history of Berkeley’s libraries.

Jack Mouch, Staff Writer

The Berkeley Archives
THROWBACK TO 2001: In 2001, the Jean Ann Cone Library was newly renovated. This renovation was the last major change in the library, before the addition of the Frederick Learning Commons in 2017.


The Berkeley community has begun to appreciate the newly renovated Jean Ann Cone Library and the brand new Frederick Learning Commons. Many students filter through the building every day, but few embrace the history of the building. School Archivist and Middle Division Librarian David Schumacher sat down with The Fanfare to explore Berkeley’s library history.


The Jean Ann Cone Library is one of three libraries in Berkeley’s history. The very first library wasn’t even on the Town ‘n’ Country campus, but rather the Davis Island location. Named the Edgar T. McCleary Library in 1965, the original building was roughly 15 miles from Berkeley’s current location and functioned up until 1979 on the “Hotel Campus.” The library flourished from fundraisers held by the Middle and Upper Divisions and personal library donations.


In 1984, the Richard Rudolph and Ronald Rudolph families created Lower Division’s Rudolph Library that is still used today. The Rudolph Library in the West Family Resource Center has several traditions, one of which is the birthday book program, in which Lower Division students pick a book on their birthday that is dedicated to them. Grade level teachers also work jointly with the librarians to order books and structure curriculum for the Lower Division.


The Berkeley Archives
SOME QUIET TIME: A student enjoys a book in the Rudolph Library. The Rudolph Library was built in 1984 on the Kelly Road campus.


The Jean Ann Cone library was one of the newest buildings on Berkeley’s  and is used by both Middle and Upper Division. The plans for the Hollingsworth campus began in September 1977, and by January 1978, fundraising campaigns had begun. Originally, trustees selected a plain building design with cream-colored, single-story buildings. After funding from prominent alumni such as the Divers family, Jean Ann Cone, Larry H. Dimmitt Jr. and Betty Jo Hance, much of the current Berkeley campus was erected.


In 1996, a faculty lounge and senior room was added behind the Cone library, and by 2000, Berkeley was ready for a renovation. George Steinbrenner of the New York Yankees funded a substantial part of the renovation. The Jean Ann Cone Library is attached to the Steinbrenner Student Center. This addition included group study rooms, conference rooms and the McCammon mezzanine. Schumacher noted one flaw to the renovation. Unfortunately, the elevation was not high enough and the library experienced a severe flood in the early 2000s.


Now, the Jean Ann Cone Library has experienced yet another renovation. Along with new offices and conference rooms and a new Frederick Learning Commons space, the library has added modern furniture and beanbags. Students work next to faculty in an amazing new space.


For more information on the new library: