University of Nebraska students study in what was the new East Campus library space in this image from December 1964.
The library, which was named C.Y. Thompson Library and has become the Dinsdale Learning Commons, was designed primarily by Albert Hamersky of Clark and Enersen. It was intended to look like a “modern representation of a classic Greek temple,” with three stories arranged around a central atrium. It offered more than 50,000 square feet of space and projected to house 265,000 books. The exterior walls were topped by 13-foot eaves, with walls of steel and glass that offered patrons a view of the “lush, peaceful setting of the campus.”
Ultimately, C.Y. Thompson Library was designed for flexibility, offering few fixed walls and free-standing book stacks. Seating was integrated into the shelving area, allowing for easy access to materials. The design earned a Nebraska AIA Honor Award and was praised on the Daily Nebraskan’s Nov. 18, 1964 editorial page.
“From the Archives” is a weekly feature in Nebraska Today. Images are provided by Traci Robison, outreach archivist and assistant professor of practice with Archives and Special Collections in the University Libraries. Explore the Archives and Special Collections online. For more information, contact Troy Fedderson at firstname.lastname@example.org or 402-472-8515.