Alabama A&M Library


Alabama A&M Library

Library History

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Alabama Agricultural and Mechanical University received the designation as a land grant institution–the first black school in Alabama to receive funds from the Second Morrill Act of 1890–in August 1891.

The first library space designated at this university–née the State Agricultural and Mechanical College–was in Palmer Hall, also the first building constructed on the new campus at Normal in 1891.  This building also served as the main school building, recitation hall, chapel, girls’ dormitory.

In 1904, Carnegie Library became the first library constructed atop “Normal’s Hill” during the administration of the university’s first principal and president, Dr. William Hooper Councill.  The construction of the library was sponsored by funds donated by industrialist, entrepreneur and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie.  Carnegie was the founder of Carnegie Steel Corporation, the largest steel company in the world by 1889.

Carnegie Library is a Colonial-style, two-story brick and stone finished building that was constructed by students of the University at a cost of $12,000.  The facility housed the Library, Business Office, Office of the President, and the United States Post Office.  The Library contained a reference materials room, seminar room, two reading rooms, reference desk, general stacks, and a librarian’s office.

In 1968, the Joseph F. Drake Memorial Library was added as an essential component to the University.  Beginning in October 1966, the library was constructed as a requirement for re-accreditation with the Southern Association for Colleges and Schools (also known as SACS).  This new facility was funded by both federal and state governments with over $1.3 million in funds contributed for its completion.  The new library would cover 60,000 square feet, hold up to 300,000 volumes, and seat approximately 1,000 patrons.

Today, the Joseph F. Drake Memorial Learning Resources Center (LRC) consists of 73,485 square feet of space, can house up to 400,000 volumes, and seat well over 1,000 patrons thanks in part to the renovation of the facility in 2003.  The LRC offers a variety of services that enhance student learning and faculty participation such as Interlibrary Loan, Learning Commons, E-Books, electronic and physical scholarly journals, academic databases, Information Literacy classes, Archival research, and much, much more.


Contact University Archives & Special Collections

(256) 372-4717


Veronica Henderson, Head of Archives and Special Collections

(256) 372-4720


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