The University of Oklahoma's Bizzell Memorial Library has recently been recognized as one of the most beautiful university libraries in the nation.
Bizzell Memorial Library, which stands sentry over the university's equally striking South Oval - itself known far and wide for its colorful fall chrysanthemum beds - was cited in the Campus Grotto: The Inside Source at College's top 25 "quick list," which also includes libraries at such well-known institutions of higher learning as Princeton, Harvard, Yale, Cornell, Johns Hopkins University, Dartmouth and the University of California at Berkeley.
"The university is proud of this recognition," said OU President David L. Boren. "We have the late President William Bizzell to thank for the beautiful design of the building and for obtaining the funds to build it. We are proud that it is not only the largest library in the state of Oklahoma, but it is also the second-largest library in the Big 12," Boren said. "It is also home to one of the most important History of Science collections in the United States. This collection contains the only work by Galileo that has been revised in his own hand writing. We are grateful that our library is both beautiful and strong in its collections."
Built in 1929, Bizzell Memorial Library features Cherokee Gothic architecture and serene study retreats, including the Peggy V. Helmerich Great Reading Room. It is surrounded by formal endowed gardens, complete with sculptures, such as Allan Houser's work, "Homeward Bound," depicting a Native American woman herding sheep; keeping watch over the building is a statue of library namesake William Bennett Bizzell, OU's fifth president.
The library holdings include a broad range of research and rare acquisitions, including the Bass Business History Collection of works relating to the history of business and industry; the John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections of rare books and special materials in English, European and American literatures dating from the 15th century to the present; and the Bizzell Bible Collection, featuring many rare and unusual bibles and related works from around the world. The library also has a selection of historically important documents, including works featuring Galileo's hand-written notes to first-edition works of Charles Dickens. In 2008, the library acquired its 5 millionth volume, a rare first edition of Herman Melville's The Whale, housed in the John and Mary Nichols Rare Books and Special Collections.
The OU Libraries, including Bizzell (the main library) is the largest research library in the state of Oklahoma. It contains more than 5 million volumes, 63,000 serials subscriptions and 250 databases. For more information about the library, please visit http://libraries.ou.edu.
CampusGrotto.com covers a wide range of college-related topics; the web site reaches an audience of more than 1.2 million annually.