Library

Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery and the Library Pond Color photograph
Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery and the Library Pond, ca. 1990. University Photographs, UARC Photos-04-0094. View larger

The Library was built in three phases. This photograph shows Phase I, facing the Library Pond and completed in 1968, and Phase II, completed in 1975 and extending back towards the apartments. The unfinished concrete exterior, modeled in a Brutalist architectural style, was recognized by the Baltimore Chapter of the American Institute of Architects with their highest honors in 1975.

Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery by Tim Ford
Albin O. Kuhn Library & Gallery by Tim Ford, 2005. University Photographs, UARC 2011-01. View larger


The third and final phase was the construction of the Library Tower, completed in 1995. The tower serves as an emblem of the university, completing the vision of the campus master plan from 1965 that stated that “the building will be viewed on axis from the main approach drive, appearing unquestionably as the major building on campus.” Since the Library was designed to grow with the university, the tower also symbolized how far UMBC had come in 30 years. The opening of the tower was celebrated with UMBC’s first MindFest, “A Celebration of the Power of Ideas and Information,” on November 11. Activities included family brunch, seminars, tours, an alumni bonfire, and a photography presentation in the newly renovated Library Gallery.

Invitation to the Dedication of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery , Invitation, 1982, 5 x 7 . University Publications, UPUB L1-013
Invitation to the Dedication of the Albin O. Kuhn Library and Gallery, 1982. University Publications, UPUB L1-013. View full document

The library went unnamed, aside from Library or University Library, until the official dedication ceremony on December 13, 1982 when it was named for UMBC’s founding chancellor, Albin O. Kuhn. The occasion was hosted by Chancellor Dorsey and took place in the Special Collections Reading Room. The standing room only throng of people heard Richard W. Couper, President of the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and President Emeritus of the New York Public Library, speak about libraries and their role in society.