Tutt Library: Building on the Block
Tutt Library, officially opened in 1962, faces Pike's Peak and the Rocky Mountains to the west.
In the summer of 2013, Colorado College President Jill Tiefenthaler published, The Colorado College Plan: Building on the Block. This concluded a lengthy process of thinking, exploring and imagining what direction should be taken for Colorado College in the coming years.
President Tiefenthaler states, "Two years ago, our Colorado College community began a conversation -- and journey -- that led us to rediscover ourselves. I look back at this 'Year of listening' as the foundation for the plans and recommendations you'll find here, and I'm proud to see how our planning process raised awareness of what makes this college such a powerful force in the world. We have gone very far to create this plan, and many, many people have contributed to it. But our journey leads us back home by affirming our core mission and defining powerful opportunities to make Colorado College an even more dynamic center of learning."
"Colorado College," stresses President Tiefenthaler, "has always been identified with bold action. You need look no further than the Block Plan, developed in 1970 and still thriving today with a new generation of independent learners who just happen to have a lot more technology as their fingertips. For the new strategic plan, we focused on our core strengths -- the liberal arts, engaged teaching and learning, distinctive place of learning -- in the context of higher education and what today's Millennial-era students need."
Recommendation #1 for Building on the Block is "to provide additional support to realize the potential of our pioneering Block Plan." This will take shape along the lines of a new "Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching" whose main tenant will be a new reconstituted library. (Building on the Block, p. 7)
History professor, Bryant "Tip" Ragan, notes, "The Center for Immersive Learning and Teaching, to be housed in a 21st century library, is designed to help all of us achieve the collective need to "build on the block, to push our imaginations, our intellect, and our spirits in new directions." (CC Bulletin, Nov. 2013, p. 12)
Tim Fuller, professor of political science says, "We need to renovate our library by creating a substantial new space that complements the existing building, providing expanded spaces for study, for research, for collaborative learning, and that is state of the art for the electronic age. Among the most exciting prospects is the Center for Immersive Learning and Engaged Teaching to coordinate traditional resources with new opportunities for undergraduate study and research. Through careful programming and creative design we can achieve a 21st century addition which, combined with a refurbished Tutt, will support our spirit of tradition and innovation in an architecturally striking way." (CC Bulletin, Nov. 2013, p. 13)
As we anticipate an exciting and dynamic future for Colorado College, let's look back to see how the library developed since the founding of the College in 1874.
A Germinating Library in Cutler Hall
Barbara Neilon, Special Collections Librarian at Colorado College from 1978 to 1991, wrote in her history of the Colorado College Library, “Colorado College Library stands as one of the oldest academic libraries in the State of Colorado. While a precise founding date for the library has not been established, it is fairly certain that a small library was part of the academic environment during the first uncertain years of the college’s history. Certainly by the time the first permanent college building was occupied in January, 1880, a library was well established, and frequent references to it may be found in the publications of the college from that date.” (Neilon, p. 12)
Rapid Library Development
This first permanent building, Cutler Hall, J. Juan Reid writes, “was occupied at the beginning of the winter term on January 5, 1880.’ He goes on, “The new college building included a library, classrooms, a small auditorium that also served as a chapel, and a well-equipped chemistry laboratory in a basement wing.” (p. 21) A quick expansion of the building followed and by 1882, the north and south wings were completed. Growth of the library matched this expansion, reaching a size of 6,000 volumes by the time President Edward Tenney departed in 1884. (Reid, p. 31).
Who’s in Charge?
In the very early years of the College library, oversight of the collection was assigned to a member of the faculty. Sometimes it was unclear, however, who exactly was in charge. Neilon writes in her history of the library, “Professor Loud thought [Edward Payson] Tenney had charge of the library in 1876-77 ‘as he had charge of everything else.’ While it is unclear exactly when Loud took charge of the library in addition to his teaching duties at Colorado College, it is probable that the job fell to him when no one else would or could do it. In any case, he seems to have taken charge at an early date under some informal arrangement with Mr. Tenney…. President Tenney himself refers to Loud as librarian as early as 1879.” (Neilon, p. 15) At any rate, Frank Herbert Loud at least “emerged” as the first librarian at Colorado College, and although he had a Ph.D. and taught mathematics, physics and astronomy, he did not formally study library science since the first modern library school was not established until 1887 at Columbia University by Melvil Dewey.
But Loud had at least one impressive early connection with the library world. Neilon explains, “Loud was a classmate of Melvil Dewey’s, the originator of the Dewey Classification system. Loud graduated from Amherst in 1873, and Dewey the following year. Both men joined the staff at Amherst after graduation. Dewey took charge of the library while Loud began teaching. During the spring of 1873 Dewey met with the faculty of Amherst to explain his classification scheme for libraries. The first edition of Dewey’s plan for library cataloging was published at Amherst in 1876 while Loud was still on the faculty there. Dewey later credited the faculty for encouraging him and assisting in the dissemination of the system. Dewey described the role of the faculty: ‘With aid of professors in each department and cooperation of librarians interested, in 1872-76 I workt out the 10 classes and their 100 divisions and 1000 sections, following the inverted Baconian order…. From cooperation of the Amherst college faculty the work spred til many hundreds have shared in stedy enlarjment and improvement.’ [Note: the odd spelling was characteristic of Dewey who preferred his last name rendered “Dui”] It is possible that Loud himself worked with Dewey on the scheme particularly in the areas of math, physics or astronomy.” (Neilon, p. 25)
“At the 1892 annual meeting of the board of trustees President Slocum made a surprise announcement of a gift of $50,000 from N. P. [Nathan Parker] Coburn of Newton, Massachusetts, for a new library building. Constructed on the southwest corner of the previously vacant four-block campus square, Coburn Library was the first college library building in the state. President William Rainey Harper of the University of Chicago was the principal speaker at the dedication services on March 14, 1894.” (Reid, p. 44) The laying of the cornerstone for the new building occurred June 13, 1893, with the library motto inscribed, “Dispensary of the Soul.” (pamphlet, “Coburn Library 1894-1962”) “The new structure [Coburn Library] was located on the northeast corner of Cascade Avenue and Cache La Poudre Street. It was the first College building to be erected on the four-block-square area east of Cascade Avenue.” (Loevy, p. 60)
“Coburn Library, like Hagerman Hall, was built of peachblow sandstone [the same stone used for Palmer Hall ten years later] quarried in the Frying Pan River country near Aspen and transported to the campus by James J. Hagerman’s Colorado Midland Railroad. The Library had a red tile roof with copper mountings and an attractive interior of solid red oak woodwork, with picturesque galleried and inviting alcoves. A full cast of the Winged Victory of Samothrace stood at the end of the main hall; the recesses contained marble busts of Antinous and Dante and casts of Hermes of Praxiteles and Mercie’s “David.” The United States government designated the library as an official depository and provided over 5,000 government documents including the Congressional Record from 1847; by the end of the decade, the library contained 25,000 volumes. Offices for President Slocum and the treasurer of the college were located on the main floor, and the ground floor level was equipped with pews to provide seating for assemblies, lectures, and daily chapel services.” (Reid, p. 45) “Coburn Library had the atmosphere of sumptuous intellectualism often associated with major building at New England colleges and universities.” (Loevy, pp. 60, 62) “We learn to love this building [Coburn Library] as we come here year after year, in it many of our pleasantest hours are spent, and its memories will be among the brightest that we carry with us when we leave these college halls.” [pamphlet, “Coburn Library 1894-1962”]
“Shortly after the fall term opened in 1931, Alice Bemis Taylor, daughter of Judson Bemis, announced plans to finance the building of a new library for the college. An architect was chosen, preliminary plans were drawn, a site west of Palmer Hall was selected, and several carloads of peachblow sandstone from the Frying Pan River quarry were deposited on the campus north on Coburn. As the preliminary planning dragged over several years, Mrs. Taylor changed her mind and turned her full attention to a new fine arts center to replace the Broadmoor Art Academy. No reason was given for the change in plans. However, twelve years later upon Mrs. Taylor’s death, the college received $400,000 from her estate with the suggestion that it be applied toward the building of a library.” (Reid, p. 120) “As enrollment increased, the facilities of Coburn Library were severely strained. In 1939 the board of trustees allocated $20,000 to build a four-level stack addition to the north end of the library, which increased the book capacity by 60,000 volumes and added thirty-five study carrel. Coburn Library’s 116,000 accessioned books and collection of bound magazines from the 19th century compared favorably with other liberal art colleges throughout the country, but the facilities of the library remained inadequate even after the new stacks were added.” (Reid, p. 144)
Perhaps Tutt Library shows off its best views at night when the lighted glass-walled main floor creates a sense that the top two massive concrete floors float above.
Coburn Library "De-Constructed"
“With the benefit of a $2.25 million grant from the Olin Foundation, the College began construction of a new Humanities building. Sadly, to make room for this new building [Armstrong Hall opened in September of 1966], two of the College’s lovely examples of Romanesque architecture had to be torn down. The beautiful peachblow sandstone walls of Coburn Library and Perkins Hall were dismantled and hauled away. The destruction of these two buildings, coupled with the earlier razing of Hagerman Hall, left Palmer Hall as the only remaining example of a Romanesque, peachblow sandstone building at Colorado College.” (Loevy, pp. 158-9)
Coburn Library with its neighbor to the east, Perkins Hall, dedicated in February, 1900, were removed in 1964 to make room of Armstrong Hall.
Tuttlet is Born
Each season has its own beauty for Tutt Library. The south extension, often referred to as "Tuttlet," reflects the concrete facade of the top floors of the original building but without the redeeming qualities of a plate-glassed first floor.
Under the 18 year presidency of Lloyd Edson Worner [1963-1981], the additions to the College’s physical plant were the “most remarkable” accomplishments. These included six major buildings: Boettcher Health Center, Armstrong Hall, Mathias Hall, El Pomar Sports Center, Packard Hall and the Tutt Library addition. (Loevy, pp. 290-1)
“On October 21, 1978, the newspapers in Colorado Springs announced that a two-story addition was going to be built on to Tutt Library. The money for the project—$1.5 million—had been contributed by El Pomar Foundation. The architect, Carlisle B. Guy and Associated, already had been hired and the plan already drawn. A model of the new addition, which was to be built on the south side of Tutt Library, already was available for viewing. A photograph of the model appeared in the newspapers along with the story announcing El Pomar Foundation’s generous gift.
“The library needs of Colorado College had increased substantially in the 20 years since El Pomar Foundation gave money to build the original Tutt Library building. The size of the student body has almost doubled, and there had been a substantial proliferation in the number and variety of printed material available for scholarly research. The library also needed space for its own archival materials on the history of the College and for a computer room for student use. There also were to additional rooms so the professors could bring their classes to the new building to watch the library’s growing collection of educational videotapes.
“The library addition was to be slightly smaller than the original Tutt Library building, rising only two stories high instead of three. It was to be built out of the same type of cast concrete slabs. It was to be a separate building but connected to the original library by a two-story enclosed hallway.
“Since the new addition would block the busy main sidewalk running from Olin and Palmer halls to Loomis Hall, a set of downward ramps connected by an open air tunnel was to be constructed under the hallway between the two buildings. This would permit pedestrian traffic to conveniently pass through the building without having to enter the building.
“As with any new college or university building project, the Tutt Library addition had its critics. A number of faculty and administrators complained privately that is was wrong to allow a new building to penetrate so deeply into the large grassy area that comprised the main quadrangle of the College. The library addition would break up the open feeling generated by the existing large landscaped area between the old Tutt Library building and Armstrong Hall. But these critics could suggest no alternative location for the library addition that they liked better, and few persons wanted to see the existing Tutt Library expanded by becoming a five-story high-rise building.
“The Tutt Library addition also was a reminder that the College was continuing to be the beneficiary of the Cripple Creek and Victor gold strikes, even though it was almost three-quarters of a century since the large-scale gold mining had come to an end. IT was the lure of Cripple Creek gold that first brought the Tutt family to Colorado, and it was a successful Cripple Creek gold mine that laid the foundation of the Tutt family fortune. The Tutt Library addition was simply the latest item in the Cripple Creek-Victor legacy to Colorado College.” (Loevy, pp. 274-6)
A bridge spanning an underpass connects Tutt North (left) and Tutt South (right).
Newer Technology Makes an Appearance in Tutt Library
“Meanwhile [in the early 1980s], Tutt Library was busy acquiring a collection of significant videos to be used as instructional aides. The videos ranges from old movies, such as ‘All the King’s Men’ for Political Science classes, to public television productions such as ‘Civilization,’ which was shown in a variety of history and literature classes…. Tutt Library also installed two large video rooms so that professors and their students could come and watch the videos in a comfortable setting. The video playing machines used were the large-screen type, which made seeing a video in Tutt Library somewhat like going to the movie theatre. (Loevy, p. 320)
“In 1972 there was significant progress on the computing scene at Colorado College…. Direct lines connected “Smedley” [as the first computer was called] to computer terminals in Armstrong Hall, Olin Hall, Palmer Hall and Tutt Library.” (Loevy, p. 212)
“Personal computers were made available [in the mid-1980s] to the students by installing large numbers of the machines in ‘computer labs’ scattered at strategic places around the campus. One large set of machines was placed in the basement of Tutt Library…. (Loevy, pp. 320-23)
“I wasn’t sure what to expect, I mean were they doing an experiment where all the librarians would be robot like on the Jetsons? ACK! There they were – the COMPUTERS!” (The Catalyst, November, 1985, in pamphlet, “Coburn Library 1894-1962”)
“Upon the retirement of Head Librarian George Fagan [in 1983], the College embarked on a nationwide search for his successor…. John Sheridan, the applicant finally hired as Head Librarian [in 1984] … and the Tutt Library staff pioneered the development of computer software for liberal arts college libraries. President Riley particularly noted Colorado College’s leading role in this area. ‘We found ourselves sort of out front in terms of, at least, liberal arts and sciences colleges. We tried to learn from other institutions, and we discovered that no other comparable colleges were really thinking about automating their library systems.’” (Loevy, pp. 342-3)
“During the 1986-1987 academic year the College began installing the wiring that would permit all of the personal computers on campus to be connected into a single network…. Once the network was wired up, students and faculty were able to peruse the Tutt Library catalog from their computers rather than having to go over to the Library.” (Loevy, p. 364)
“Although it was not a new fad [in the early 1990s], a number of students used skateboards to get themselves more quickly from place to place at the College…. One of the bigger thrills in skateboarding at Colorado College appeared to be rolling at high speed down the ramped underpass that tunneled under Tutt Library and gliding up the other side.” (Loevy, p. 420)
Skateboard racks now grace the entrance of Tutt Library.
“Today, in 1994, one finds a library of 400,000 volumes; 200,000 Government Documents; 15,000 periodicals; the Robert Hendee Lincoln Collection of 2,750 and a Special Collections Department of Rare and Special Edition books, and Colorado and Colorado College Historical Collections. The library is approaching full automation with an integrated on-line system. Numerous CD-ROM indexes are available for research. It is a well-rounded research facility for the college and the community.” (pamphlet, “Coburn Library 18894-1962”)
Archives and Special Collections
“One of the most valued collections in Tutt Library at Colorado College was the Penrose Papers. These were the personal papers of Spencer Penrose, the man who had come to Colorado from Philadelphia and made millions of dollars in various mining ventures. Penrose also built the Broadmoor Hotel, and he created El Pomar Foundation, which had given millions of dollars to Colorado College over the years…. A high-ranking executive at El Pomar Foundation [in 1992] requested that the Penrose Papers be removed from Tutt Library at Colorado College and henceforth housed at the Foundation’s El Pomar Center in the Broadmoor area of Colorado Springs…. The College administration had qualms about relinquishing its ownership of the Penrose Papers. John Sheridan, the Head Librarians at Tutt Library, feared that the Penrose Papers would not be as well-protected at the Foundation as they were in Tutt Library. If they remained at Tutt Library, the Penrose papers would be in a climate-controlled environment and would be cared for in perpetuity by trained librarians. But, on the other hand, the College wanted to cooperate with the Foundation that had been one of the College’s principal financial benefactors…. [A successful solution was found.] The College loaned the original papers to El Pomar Foundation but did not give up actual ownership. A complete set of copies of the papers was retained in Tutt Library in case anything happened to the original documents while at El Pomar. And an agreement was signed that the Penrose Papers would automatically be returned to the Colorado College if, at a future date, El Pomar Foundation no longer wanted them or was unable to adequately house them.” (Loevy, pp. 426, 428)
“… [On]January 1, 2001, about 300 lovers of Colorado Springs history met together in Tutt Library to open the Century Chest. Many of those running the show were dressed in period costumes reflecting the clothing styles of 1901. Three local locksmiths had been recruited to actually open the safe. ‘The steel-riveted chest contained more than 150 enveloped and packages filled with hundreds of individual letters, pamphlets, clippings, advertising buttons, fabric samples, sketches, and photographs.’
“The contents of the Century Chest were photographed and scanned and the digital images placed on the Internet so everyone who was interested could view them. Judith Reid Finley, a graduate of Colorado College class of 1958, edited a book of the contents of the time capsule that was published by the College….
“Colorado College President Kathryn Mohrman spoke at the event. The Century Chest was closed and locked with specific instructions not to be reopened until after December 31, 2100.” (Loevy, 1999-2012, pp. 15-17)
New Tutt Library Collaborations
“Another major gift to Colorado College came from Trustee Patricia Crown-Tapper and her family [in the early 1990s]. They donated $1 million to help improve teaching at Colorado College. The Crown-Tapper Teaching and Learning Center (TLC) was set up in the basement of the Tutt Library Addition under the direction of Robert D. Lee, Professor of Political Science and the College’s resident expert on the Middle East.” The Crown Tapper Center brought in visiting lecturers on the subject of college teaching and held a variety of forums and discussion groups to enable faculty to share and evaluate various teaching method and ideas.” (Loevy, p. 462)
“In April of 1999, the Committee on Instruction recommended to the Colorado College faculty that a new course of study be adopted called the First-Year Experience (FYE)…. A research component encouraged first-year students to study and write on their own. It was hoped the students, early on in their college careers, would become skillful users of college academic facilities such as Tutt Library and the Learning Commons, with its Writing Center.” (Loevy, 1999-2012, p. 2)
“The Crown-Tapper Teaching and Learning Center was created in the mid-1990s to improve faculty teaching and student learning at Colorado College. Starting out in the basement of the Tutt Library addition, it soon expanded into a larger, newly remodeled area on the first floor of that building. Much of the funding for this expansion came from the Robert and Ruby Priddy Trust. Progressively throughout the early 2000s, both old and new programs to aid students in mastering their studies were added to the Center. By 2012, the space was known as the Learning Commons and the various programs had been grouped together as the Colket Center for Learning Excellence.” (Loevy, 1999-2012, p. 6)
Remake of Tutt Library
“In November of 1995 the Board of Trustees adopted Phase One of the Campus Master Plan, which provided a blueprint of the College’s physical needs through the year 2005…. Other recommendations, set forth in Phase Two and Phase Three of the Master Plan, were to be implemented between 2005 and 2025. The recommendations included renovating Armstrong Theater in Armstrong Hall, adding a north addition to Tutt Library, and relocating Honnen Ice Rink so that once again the Cossitt Amphitheater could be used for outdoor meetings, dramatic productions, and rallies.” (Loevy, pp. 465-6)
“Exactly as former-President Mohrman left plans for a new performing arts center for her successor, President Celeste created plans for expanding and repurposing Tutt Library for his successor.
“There was some sentiment at Colorado College for tearing the old Tutt Library building down. Constructed out of pre-manufactured concrete slabs and graced with vertical ‘slit’ windows on its upper floors, the building had become unattractive over the years and essentially ignored the beautiful mountain views to the west.
“‘We decided to undress the building rather than remove it,’ Dick Celeste noted. ‘The concrete slabs will be taken off one-by-one and replaced with thermal glass panes that will allow students studying and doing research in Tutt to see the mountains and other outdoor campus views.’
“‘At the same time,’ Celeste said, ‘we will tear down the Tuttlet, the small addition to Tutt Library that intrudes into our main quadrangle on the campus. The openness of the main quadrangle will be restored once the Tuttlet is gone.’
“‘But the biggest change to Tutt Library,’ Celeste continued, ‘will be the expansion of the main library building toward North Cascade Avenue. We plan to construct a beautiful atrium running east and west through the entire building. The west wall of the atrium will face Pike’s Peak and the mountains and will be all thermal glass. From any point in the atrium, library users will be able to see and enjoy our spectacular western view.’
“The repurposing of the library will be oriented toward the increasing impact of digital information on library usage in colleges and universities. Computer terminals will be emphasized for study along with the continued availability of books. Book storage capacity will be increased through the use of automated compact shelving. Under this new automated system, aisles between shelves of books will be eliminated, and books will be retrieved mechanically from compact storage when requested.
“The repurposing also will speak to the social impact of student use of the library. An important tenet of the Block Plan was to encourage students to study and work together on class projects. Social study spaces will be created in the expanded library where small groups of students can work and interact together as they pursue their studies.
“The price tag for the expanded and repurposes Tutt Library will be about $50 million. ‘We have the conceptual design and program plan for a better library,’ Celeste concluded. “We need to embark on this project to keep Tutt Library relevant in the digital age.’” (Loevy, 1999-2012, pp. 48-9)
“I know that if people at the dedication of Coburn Library saw today’s Tutt Library they would be verrrrrrry surprised, but I am confident that they would recognize it as a library. I don’t know how we would react if we got to see a library 100 or even 25 years from now.” (John Sheridan, Library Director, 1994, in pamphlet, “Coburn Library 1894-1962”)
In January 2007, the Architecture firm of Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott, Boston, MA, in association with H+L Architecture, Denver, was engaged by Colorado College to articulate program and building concepts for a transformed library facility meeting the unique needs of its learning and teaching community. A 141 page report was submitted in June 2008. The images above are some of the plan and design features offered for consideration. The national economic downturn in 2008 and 2009 necessitated shelving the project.
The Strategic Plan, "Building on the Block" now returns to a major library/learning center building program. We are fortunate to have MASS Design/brightspot of Boston and New York lead the initial phases of the project.
|Colorado College: Head Librarians and Library Directors|
|Frank H. Loud (faculty in charge)||1878-1886|
|Eloise Wickard (faculty in charge)||1886-1891|
|Augustus G. Upton (faculty in charge)||1891-1893|
|Harvey S. Murdoch||1893-1895|
|Hugh H. Langton||1895-1896|
|Herman G. A. Brauer||1896-1898|
|Frances S. Wiggin||1898-1903|
|Malcolm G. Wyer||1903-1904|
|Manly Dayton Ormes||1904-1929|
|Louise F. Kampf||1929-1958|
|Joan Shinew (Acting)||1963-1964|
|Robert M. Copeland||1964-1968|
|Carol Christenson (Acting)||1968-1969|
|George V. Fagan||1969-1983|
|Susan L. Myers (Acting)||1983-1984|
|John B. Sheridan||1984-1999|
|Julie Jones-Eddy (Acting)||1999|
|Ivan Kenneth Gaetz||2012-2016|
|Lisa Lister (Interim)||2016-2017|
In the end, libraries are places of imagination, and imagination is a form of play -- play of the mind. Libraries can take us back to our childhood, or transport us to imaginary worlds.... As long as humankind continues to value these activities, it will continue to build places to house them. Whether they will involve books or will still be called libraries, only time will tell. -- J. W. P. Campbell, The Library: A World History, University of Chicago Press, 2013
Sources, visual and textual, for this website courtesy of:
Mike McEvers, Library Photographer and Circulation Coordinator, Tutt Library; Jessy Randal, Archivist and Special Collections Librarian, Tutt Library; Barbara L. Neilon, The History of the Colorado College Library, 1874 – 1929 (M.A. thesis,University of Denver, 1980); Charlie Brown Hershey, Colorado College, 1874 – 1949 (Colorado Springs: Colorado College,1952); J. Juan Reid, Colorado College: The First Century, 1874-1974 (Colorado Springs: Colorado College,1979); Robert D. Loevy, Colorado College: A Place of Learning, 1874 – 1999 (Colorado Springs: Colorado College, 1999); Robert D. Loevy, Colorado College: 1999-2102, Into the 21st Century (Colorado Springs: Colorado College, 2012); Colorado College, “Coburn Library, 1894-1962” [pamphlet, 8 p.] Creator of this website: Ivan Gaetz, Library Director, Colorado College. April 2014.