A Brief History of the Wheelock College Library

When Lucy Wheelock founded Wheelock College in 1888, the school did not have a dedicated library. Instead, she arranged for her students to have access to neighboring libraries and museums. When the school moved to 100 Riverway in 1914, a reference library was among the services provided in the new building.

Old reference library

For four years in the 1940s, the growing collection of materials was housed at 47 Pilgrim Road, then relocated to the Library's present 132 Riverway address in 1947. At the time, the Library occupied only the second and third floors, with art classrooms on the first floor and administrative space on the fourth. The Library took over that fourth floor space in 1961, but by the late 1970s it was apparent that even more space would be needed to support the Library's mission of providing resources and services to the Wheelock community.

Froebel Frieze being placed above Library entrance

A major renovation completed in 1982 nearly doubled shelving capacity and study space, and brought the Library to its current physical configuration with four main levels, four mezzanine levels and a basement level. It was at this time that the Froebel Frieze, created in 1914 for the original school building, was removed from storage after 30 years, and placed in its current place of honor above the main Library entrance.

Library renovations in 1994 and 1997 increased electronic access to information. The card catalog was replaced by a computer-based catalog, and more and more resources became available online.

In an effort to increase ease of access to a variety of student services, the Office of Academic Assistance, Office of Access and Disability Resources, and the Writing Center joined the Library as building partners. This co-location of services also offers opportunities for collaboration with Library staff.

Zahra helping a studentThe next major renovation project took place in December 2009-January 2010. The first floor, the focal point of this project, was completely redesigned. Walls came down, creating a wide-open floor plan. A new service desk combined Reference and Circulation services. Computers and dedicated workspaces for laptop users were installed area. In addition, a large display case was installed to showcase long-hidden Archives materials and collection highlights.

Floor 1 of Library

In the summer of 2015, Floor 1M was updated with new carpeting and a fresh coat of paint. The wall mounted shelving was removed and a refreshed and welcoming new space was created. Public computers were replaced with thin client PCs that run via virtual machines to improve the user experience throughout the campus.

The Library continues to be a vibrant space that empowers Wheelock community members to learn, explore and collaborate.

Wheelock College Library
132 Riverway, Boston, Massachusetts 02215

Earl Center for Learning and Innovation
180 Riverway, Boston, Massachusetts 02215