Suzzallo and Allen Libraries

by Jing Liu ~ July 25th, 2008. Filed under: Summer Institute for Chinese Studies Librariship.

The first week of the Summer Institute ended with a tour of the libraries where we came for classes everyday. I didn’t really like this building when I was a library school student. Whenever I walked in, I felt like going into a cathedral where I was supposed to pray not study. Whenever I walked into the reading room, I’d stare up the huge tiffiny windows and the ceiling, felt like to fly into the heaven. Dawn’s Blog just posted a nice picture of the library. Chen Xi emailed me on her online photo album. Her pictures are gorgeous!

I could never imagine any political rivals within its Tudor Collegiate Gothic structure. Henry Suzzallo, then UW President, built this famous and stylish library in 1925 for his vision of the library as “soul of the university”, but he was fired because of it and the battle with Governor Hartley. The library was only named after his death in 1933 (58 years old).

All monument buildings are controversial, including UBC Barber Learning Centre. I admire Suzzallo who setup a library so high with a style. So was Paul’s father, Kenneth S. Allen, who happened to be an associate director of this library and raised a son as one of the wealthiest men in the world.

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