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TL v58n4: History of the Augusta R. Kolwyck Library, Chattanooga State Community College
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Tennessee Libraries 

Volume 58 Number 4



 History of Augusta R. Kolwyck Library

at Chattanooga State Community College


Laura Young, Reference Librarian


Chattanooga State Technical Institute (CSTI) opened in the James Building on Chestnut Street on July 4, 1965, with 23 students taking a pre-technical class (1).  The first school year started September 20, 1965 (2).  Plans called for constructing new facilities at Moccasin Bend back in November 1964 (3).  A vision of new facilities included a library with “conference room, workroom, librarian’s office, and study area for the storage and use of the thousands of volumes of both conventional and technical reference materials”(4).   Trying to raise the land level and lay a foundation for the school at Moccasin Bend would prove too costly, and the site was abandoned (5).  A better site on Amnicola Highway was made possible on land given by James Franklin Harrison, Jr (6).  Ground was broken for the $1.4 million facility on the 75-acre property April 4, 1966 (7).  The new CSTI was dedicated by J. Howard Warf, Tennessee Commissioner of Education, June 5, 1967 (8).  A photo of the interior of the new library shows a few boxes yet to unpack before classes started on Monday (9).

The first librarian for the school was Augusta R. Kolwyck.  Charles O. Whitehead, director of CSTI, announced her appointment July 1, 1965 (10).   He fully supported the library:  “Mr. Whitehead said he considers the library a major part of the school’s curriculum and he feels that Mrs. Kolwyck’s years of experience will be invaluable to the institution’s success” (11).  He gave her the responsibility of establishing the technical library.  The 1966-67 institute bulletin describes the collection as containing “both technical and general reference books as well as many current technical periodicals” (12).

A photo of Augusta Kolwyck and Jeanette Householder, assistant, has “spacious” library in the caption (13).  Ms. Kolwyck said in a July 1968 article, “’We started from scratch in 1965.  The teachers and I picked the books and magazines together.  Now we have a good professional collection and other schools duplicate our list'” (14).  The cataloged book collection numbered 6,000, and the library served a student body of 850 students.  She went on to tell of her aim to have “10,000 books and the latest audio and visual tapes.  The proximity of Chattanooga’s new educational TV station, just across a driveway, will probably involve the CSTI library, too."  The library provided typewriters, adding machines, and calculators along with novels and magazines for browsing.  Students could play chess and drink coffee there.  Ms. Kolwyck became known as the “top official of the library’s highly appreciated coffee pot.”  She said, “The students feel that no question is too insignificant.  They ask about anything” (15).

By 1969 the “spacious” library had been replaced in the school catalog description by “physically limited in space at present.”  This catalog changed the way the library is viewed, now citing “The Library: Media Center for Life-Long Learning” (16). The library description began with a sentence about the school’s emphasis on self-teaching skills, where men and women would be able to keep themselves up to date.  The 1967-68 catalog contained information about the library only under “Library Facilities” (17).  The 1969-70 catalog adds a fuller description of the collection:  It was “strong in both technical and non-technical collections, particularly in serials and other media, including audio-visual materials, which can be kept relatively current with new technical developments.  More stack, reading, and audio-visual spaces are being added to the Library as part of the Institute’s current million-dollar expansion project” (18).

The enrollment continued to increase, and ground was broken for a major expansion November 11, 1969 (19).  Edgar H. Sessions, who had become the new CSTI director June 13, 1967 (20), gave construction of a new library on top of the $1,750,000 addition “top priority among requests for the capital equipment budget" in 1970 (21).  The plan gave the new library 11,500 square feet and located it at the north end of the addition (22).  The library was dedicated to its director, Augusta Kolwyck, Sunday, August 16, 1971 (23).  The 1971-72 catalog has a full page about the library, now called “The Learning Resources Center” (24).  Richard W. Harris became head of the library in 1972 (25).  Further expansion was planned of the newly named Chattanooga State Technical Community College in 1973 (26).  A new $1.65 million Instructional Materials Center (IMC) was dedicated to Augusta R. Kolwyck, May 1, 1977 (27).  This center included the library, a television studio, print shop, and developmental studies classrooms. 

Victoria Leather became the Librarian in September 1981 and Dean of Library Services in July 1996 (28).  Some of the early highlights of automating include the following: by 1985 the library had fully automated acquisitions, cataloging, interlibrary loans, and database searching through Dialog (29); by 1987 the library acquired its first CD-ROM database, InfoTrac, to search for magazine articles (30); the catalog was automated using the Intelligent Catalog with four workstations by 1988 (31); the automated circulation system from The Library Corporation was fully operational in 1992 (32); and the integrated library system, Voyager, was implemented in the 2001-2002 school year.

A $5.2 million expansion of the Instructional Materials Center was designed in 1993 (33).  A branch of the Augusta R. Kolwyck Library was opened at the East Campus on Lee Highway in fall 1992 (34).  Agreements with Bryan College and the Public Library in Dayton were worked out in the same year to serve Chattanooga State students at the Rhea County site (35).  The 1993-94 catalog said that the main campus library was on the first floor of the Instructional Materials Center; Chattanooga State East has a reference library; and Chattanooga State West has library service through the Jasper Public Library (36).   Sequatchie Valley students can use the Pikeville Public Library.  At present the library provides access to 55,958 print books, 53,674 online books, 265 print magazine titles, 34,110 online magazine subscriptions, 2,804 videotapes, 437 DVDs, 1,437 CDs, and 65 online databases.  The primary purpose of the library is to be a dynamic, high-quality teaching library through active and effective participation in the teaching and learning activities of the College. In addition, the Library provides some materials of recreational and personal interest to faculty, staff, and students. The Library also provides information service to community members as resources permit (37).


1. Regina Brody, “Institute Opens; Has 23 Students," Chattanooga Times, July 6, 1965, no page.  The Tennessee Board of Regents was given authority by the legislature to establish a vocational education program with technology centers (T.C.A. 49-11-402, Acts. 1963, ch. 229). A digital history archive has the following pages that can be accessed from the library home page at  (1) Augusta R. Kolwyck, (2) Chattanooga State History, (3) East Campus History, (4) Main Library History, (5) Vicky Leather Page, and (6) Library Descriptions in Catalogs.
2. "State Institute to Open Sept. 20," Chattanooga Times, August 5, 1965, no page.
3.  Marianne T. Ozmer, “Construction in November for New Technical Institute,” Chattanooga News-Free Press, October 10, 1964, no page.
4. Chattanooga State Technical Institute Catalog 1965-66, p. 4.
5. Fred Schneider, “State Tech Unit to Be Near Dam; Bend Abandoned," Chattanooga Times, November 6, 1965, no page.
6. Fred Schneider, "Gave Site for School: James Frank Harrison,” Chattanooga Times, November 6, 1965, no page.
7. David Parker, “Ground Is Broken for State Tech," Chattanooga Times, April 5, 1966, front page.
8. Clarence Bruce, “Chattanooga State Tech Dedicated," Chattanooga Times, June 6, 1967, no page.
9. "New CSTI Library," Chattanooga Times, July 31, 1967, no page.
10. "Mrs. Kolwyck Gets Library Post at New Tech School," Chattanooga News-Free Press, July 1, 1965, no page.
11. Ibid.
12. Chattanooga State Technical Institute General Bulletin 1966-67, p. 23.
13. "Mrs. Clarence Kolwyck, Right, Chief Librarian, and Mary Jeanette Householder, Assistant, in Spacious Library," Chattanooga Times, September 18, 1967, p. 8, caption under picture.
14. Mary M. Reynolds, “CSTI Librarian Boasts a Total of 19 Successful Years in Library Work," Chattanooga Times, July 2, 1968, no page.
15. Ibid.
16. Chattanooga State Technical Institute Bulletin 1969-70, p. 18.
17. Chattanooga State Technical Institute Bulletin 1967-68, p. 27.
18. Chattanooga State Technical Institute Bulletin 1969-70, p. 18.
19. Bob Poe, "CSTI Addition Sod Broken,” Chattanooga News-Free Press, November 11, 1969, no page.
20. "Sessions New CSTI Director; Whitehead Gets Memphis Post,” Chattanooga News-Free Press, June 14, 1967, 1970, no page.
21. "Library for CSTI Has Top Priority,” Chattanooga Times, October 12, 1970, no page.
22. Ibid.
23. "Library at CSTI Is Dedicated to Its Director, Mrs. Kolwyck," Chattanooga Times, August 16, 1971, p. 3.
24. Chattanooga State Technical Institute Catalog 1971-72, p. 24.
25. "New Library Head Named,” Chattanooga Times, July 14, 1972, p. 3.
26. Fred Travis, “CSTCC Building Given Approval by State Panel," Chattanooga Times, August 3, 1973, p. 3.  The law that changed the name is found in the Tennessee Code 49-8-401.
27. "Instructional Materials Center Dedicated to Augusta Kolwyck at Chattanooga Tech," Chattanooga Times, May 3, 1977, p. 13.
28. Dates furnished by Vicky Leather.
29. "Library Accomplishments 1984-1985" from the file of Vicky Leather.
30. Interoffice Memorandum to Herbert L. Hooper, “Major Accomplishments of the Library,” April 23, 1987.
31. Interoffice Memorandum to Herbert L. Hooper, “Major Accomplishments of the Library Staff for 1987-1988,” July 20, 1988.
32. ”Library Accomplishments 1991-1992” from the file of Vicky Leather.
33. Mike Pare, “CSTCC Eyeing Expansion of Its 'Expanded' Library," Chattanooga News-Free Press, June 19, 1992, p. C1.
34. Photo of dedication:
35. Pamela Temple to Vicky Leather e-mail, September 3, 1993, titled “Library Accomplishments 1992/1993.”
36. Chattanooga State Technical Community College Catalog 1993-94, p. 87. 37. About the Library,”
37. About the Library,”

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