Jean and Alexander Heard Library

Jean and Alexander Heard Library

Vanderbilt University

Country United States
Established 1873
Location Nashville, Tennessee
Branches 10
Size 8 million
Other information
Budget US$24.3 million
Director Joseph (Jody) Dale Combs, Jr., Interim Dean of Libraries
Staff 210

The Jean and Alexander Heard Library system is made up of several campus libraries at Vanderbilt University. These include Eskind Biomedical Library, Central Library, Divinity Library, Alyne Queener Massey Law Library, Walker Management Library, Anne Potter Wilson Music Library, Peabody Library, Sarah Shannon Stevenson Science & Engineering Library, Special Collections and University Archives, and the Television News Archive. It also houses the world's most extensive and complete archive of television news from 1968 to the present day.[1]

Vanderbilt University Central Library
Vanderbilt University Peabody Library


The original Vanderbilt Library was housed in the Main Building (later College Hall and now Kirkland Hall) at the time of the university's founding in 1873.[2] The collection held approximately 6,000 volumes and was open from 9:00-2:00 daily under the supervision of a junior faculty member.[2] Over the years, the library grew in size before being gutted by fire in 1905.[2] Efforts to rebuild the library were supported by other universities, with Yale University and the Library of Congress donating thousands of publications to the university.[2] However, another fire in 1932 destroyed almost half of the university libraries.[2]

A major overhaul of the library occurred under A. Frederick Kuhlman as the director of the library.[2] Under him, the Joint University Library Corporation was created by trust indenture.[2] The participating libraries were Vanderbilt University, George Peabody College for Teachers, and Scarritt College for Christian Workers.[2] The modern-day Vanderbilt library was inaugurated during his tenure.[2] At the time of the opening, the library held nearly 400,000 volumes.[2] In 1961, the library opened the stacks to undergraduate students, a privilege once reserved for graduate students and faculty.[2] In 1968, the Television News Archives was instituted.[2] The Joint University Library Corporation was dissolved in 1979 with the merger of Vanderbilt and Peabody and the system became known as the Vanderbilt University Library.[2] It was renamed the Jean and Alexander Heard Library five years later, in honor of Chancellor Emeritus Alexander Heard and his wife Jean.[2]

Campus libraries

The university library system comprises the following libraries:[3]

Special collections

Library heads

First Librarian

Director of Libraries

University Librarian

Dean of Libraries


  1. "Vanderbilt Television News Archive". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  2. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 "Jean and Alexander Heard Library: History of the Library". Retrieved 3 November 2014.
  3. "Contact". Retrieved 3 November 2014.

External links

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