UC Berkeley Library history at-a-glance

Construction of Doe Library
Granite is prepared for placement on the north facade of Doe Library in May 1909. (The Bancroft Library’s Days of Cal collection, UARC PIC 9:3)

A rich history

students walk through the history room
The Library History Room

UC Berkeley Library History Room

The University Library houses a Library History Room, located on the first floor of Doe Library, adjacent to the Bernice Layne Brown Gallery. Large wall murals and framed posters offer visitors a visual and descriptive history of the UC Berkeley Library system. The growth and development of the University Library and its vital place in the teaching and research mission of the University of California, Berkeley are evident in this historical presentation.

Exterior of Bancroft Library
The entrance to Bancroft Library

Building Bancroft: The Evolution of a Library

Building Bancroft: The Evolution of a Library presents the documentary history of The Bancroft Library at the University of California, Berkeley. The exhibit traces the development of The Bancroft Library, from its beginnings as the personal collection of businessman and historian Hubert Howe Bancroft to its current role as one of the premier archival and special collections repositories in the nation. Documents, photographs, illustrations, and other materials offer an introduction to more than one hundred and fifty years in the life of The Bancroft Library.

University Librarians

July 2024-present: Suzanne Wones

2015-2024: Jeffrey MacKie-Mason

2000-2015: Thomas C. Leonard

1998-2000: Gerald R. Lowell

1998: Penny Abel (Interim)

1994-1998: Peter Lyman

1992-1994: Dorothy Gregor

1978-1992: Joseph A. Rosenthal

1972-1978: Richard M. Dougherty

1971-1972: Eldred Smith (Interim)

1968-1972: James E. Skipper

1945-1968: Donald Coney

1919-1945: Harold L. Leupp

1875-1919: Joseph C. Rowell (First full-time University Librarian)

1874-1875: Professor Edward Rowland Sill, English; instructor Carlos F. Gompertz, Spanish

1869-1874: Professor William Swinton, English