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John C. Hitt Library - 1968

The first building to be constructed on the campus of Florida Technological University was the library. By the start of classes in October of 1968 the library was central to the life of the campus. Along with its small collection of books the library housed administrative offices, classes, and other various university-related affairs. For example, the FTU weightlifting team held practice and competitions in the basement of the library in 1970 and 1971. However, as more buildings were completed they allowed for more space to expand the library’s collections and departments. The first expansion began in 1981 and was completed in 1984, with an expansion of 3 floors including a basement, enlarging its original 171,105 square feet to approximately 220,000.

Part of the 1981 renovation included the rebuilding of the ramp in front of the library which was lowered to create a level main floor. Also, the layout for the library changed with the renovation of 1984. For instance, the first floor held the instructional resources department and the campus radio station. The main floor (commonly known also as the 2nd floor) held the circulation desk, lounge, and study tables along with a garden planted outside on the top of the 1st floor’s roof. The 3rd floor held current and bound periodicals and additional study tables, while the 4th floor held books and journals. Finally, the 5th floor was designated for processing, administration, group study rooms, carrels and lounge furniture, and the Special Collections department. To date the layout of these floors remains similar, however the 1st floor no longer holds the radio station and is now home to Government Documents, University Archives materials and Processing Office.

At the start of the university, 12,500 books had been processed and ready for checkout, while the remaining 34,000 books were yet to be available to students. In relation, the number of periodical subscriptions by the end of 1969 was 2,070. The first computer in the library was a Model 1200 with a memory of 49,176 positions, 2 disk drives, and 7 magnetic tape drives according to a 1969 Future article. In 1970 the first type of interlibrary loan system, then-called “Dial-A-Book” was put into place; students called a main line and requested the book while other institutions retrieved the book and sent it to FTU. After the 1984 expansion, the UCF library held 457,734 volumes of books—an 11% increase in 16 years. The expansion nearly doubled the seating and available study rooms to students. In 2010, the library had its first renovation since the expansion in 1984. This renovation provides 479 seats on the second floor. In March of 2012, the Florida Board of Governors approved UCF's Board of Trustees vote to name the Orlando campus library the John C. Hitt Library in honor of his 20th anniversary at the university. At present, approximately 1,280,000 volumes reside at UCF’s main library branch. In the nearly 45 years since the start of construction on the main campus library, the growth of the institution and its students, staff, and faculty is visible from its growth of the library.

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Last updated November 29, 2012 8:35:29 AM

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