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Creation Date



Other Names - Helm Library
Date Built - 1931
Dedication of Helm Library - Oct. 14, 1967
Cost of Construction - $250,000
Architects - Brinton Davis, Wilk & Arrasmith, Bowling Green

Margie Helm was born in Auburn, Ky. "She received her B.A. degree from Randolph-Macon Woman's College in 1916, and the M.A. degree in 1933 from the University of Chicago Graduate Library School. Miss Helm became assistant librarian at Western in 1920, librarian in 1923, and Director of Library Services in 1956. She served in this capacity, and as Head of Library Science, until her retirement in 1965. Miss Helm is a member of numerous professional organizations and has contributed articles to various publications. She won the Business and Professional Women's Club award in 1950 as the Outstanding Business Woman of Bowling Green. She was honored in 1964 as the Outstanding College Librarian for Kentucky by the Kentucky Library Association" [Peaks of Progress]

When the building was first opened in 1931, it was used as a gymnasium that could hold up to 5,000 people. During the last basketball season in the Health & Physical Education Building, the building was erroneously referred to as the "Big Red Barn" in several newspaper articles. Upon the completion of Diddle Arena in 1963, the building was renovated into a 70,000 square foot library to accommodate over a 1/2 million volumes on three floors with a seating capacity for 1,000 students. The building also housed the Library Science and Industrial Arts departments along with librarians. The building was renamed for Margie Helm in 1965 and the library was dedicated on October 14, 1967.

The Jump Circle was preserved in the renovated library in vinyl. After some time the librarians changed the vinyl to wool carpeting. Another renovation in 2001 uncovered the original jump circle.

For information on University Libraries see also:

Online Exhibit: Helm Library: More Than You'd Imagine

1965 - renovation and conversion to a library, estimated $1 million

Students Weekly:

  • "Hilltoppers to Play First Home Game Sat. Night," Jan. 14, 1937.
  • "Western Fans May 'Reserve Seats'," Jan. 14, 1937.

Park City Daily News:

  • "$1,015,000 Low Bid on Library," July 1, 1964.
  • Borrone, Bert. "It Says Here," Jan. 6, 1956.
  • Hunter, Wales. "Doing It By the Book," photo, April 16, 1995.
  • McLean, Mattie. "College Tops Hill Where Old Fort Once Stood," 1931
  • "Renovations Will Close Helm-Cravens Library," Dec. 7, 1995.
  • "The Last Hurrah for a Grand Tradition," Dec. 6, 1963.
  • "Western College Officials Find House Moving Simple in Comparison to Relocating Library," Aug. 1, 1965.
  • "WSC to Rebuild Old Gym Into Library," Jan. 12, 1964.

Louisville Courier-Journal:

  • Duncan, Tom. "Western Tripling Library Space," Jan. 12, 1964.

Louisville Kentucky Times:

  • "A Promising Project," Feb. 9, 1931


Western Kentucky University


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