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Buildings @ Oakland University

Kresge Library

Built: 1960 Built: 1989 | Type: libraries

Student seated outside Kresge Library

Quick Facts

  • Ground-Breaking Ceremony:  October 17, 1960
  • Construction Completion:  September, 1961
  • Building Dedication:  May 12, 1962
  • Expansion Dedication:  November 4, 1989
  • Cost:  $1,193,103.55
  • Architect:  Swanson Associates, Inc.
  • Construction:  J.A. Fredman, Inc.
  • Funding:  $500,000 grant provided by the Kresge Foundation, to be used for overall construction costs (1961)
  • Specifications:  Four floors of approx. 80,000 sq. ft.
  • Namesake:  Stanley S. Kresge, President of the Kresge Foundation, as well as Sebastian S. Kresge, founders of S.S. Kresge Company and the Kresge Foundation.  Founder of the popular department store Kresge's, Sebastian S. Kresge was able to generously donate half a million dollars towards Oakland University's library construction project.


As an academic institution, it was imperative that Oakland University have a functional and comprehensive library collection. This necessity was fulfilled in 1961 due to the generosity of the Kresge Foundation, a Metro Detroit-based organization which supports artistic, cultural, educational, and community development efforts. Initial construction enabled the library to house over 200,000 volumes for student and faculty use, a number which has since increased as a result of Kresge's expansion in 1989.

The original building offered 72,000 square feet of space and three floors above ground. A 1961 document boasts the unique feature of the library: "the absence of interior supporting waIIs, other than those of the central core, and a reduction of the number of supporting columns. This was made possible by the use of prefabricated, pre-stressed, six-foot by-36-foot concrete slabs for subfloors."

The library boasts millions of items in print and electronic formats within its collections.  It features student computer work stations, multiple "quiet study" rooms on each of its four floors, student technical and writing services, and classrooms devoted to research instruction. The Suzanne O. Frankie Cafe  opened in 2009.


For more information

Facts about the campus and buildings (1961)

University Libraries - OU Libraries Timeline.

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Photos courtesy of the Oakland University Archives.



Created by Mariela Hristova / Updated on May 15, 2018 by Mariela Hristova

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