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May 23rd, 2023

Welcome TALA – A very short history of the libraries at High Point University.

All campus activities were carried out in Roberts Hall and in the evening, students would visit and socialize in Roberts Hall.


Faculty members were often given the duties of directing early libraries at colleges and Universities. They were often language professors. High Point was no different.



In 1937, a new library was built in the middle of the great depression.

“Friday, October 30, the contract for the Wrenn Memorial Library was signed. Monday following the work started, and the contractor is driving ahead rapidly on the construction. The completed building will probably cost nearly $130,000.”


This is a great photo that was taken from atop Wrenn library during construction of the building in 1936.


A completed Wrenn Library is shown in this 1950 photo.



The construction of Wrenn provided a place for books and study areas and the Wrenn Library basement was the place to go for weekly dances and socials. Prior to 1935 dancing was not allowed on campus or at any school related social event.

“After the dinner many of the students went to the library basement for dancing, while others enjoyed ping pong, bingo, and other games in the club room.”

Interior of Wrenn Library:


The card catalog is seen on the right-hand wall next to the arch. It has been preserved and is on display in Smith Library and is still full of cards. After it was retired in 1984 it became what is called a “shelf list”, meaning each card represented a book in the collection. The large oak tables seen in the photo have been restored and are part of the reading/study area in Smith Library.

By 1977 there is talk of a new larger library.

A major donor was found, and the naming rights went to Herman and Louise Smith. Of this couple it was Louise Smith who was the most impressive. It was noted in the Greensboro News and Record upon her death in 2015 that she received her pilots license in 1940 and flew for the Civil Air Patrol during World War II, she was one of the first women to get a helicopter pilot license and was a longtime donor to High Point University.

Moving materials from the old library to the new library.



Boxes of books await reshelving. On February 1. Students formed a line and passed books from the stacks in Wrenn library to the new shelving in Smith Library.

The Roberts Hall Bible.

During the move, materials that were in poor condition were discarded in bins. Students that were helping were encouraged to check the box and take items they wanted.

tala8One of the items discarded and taken by a student was an old bible. 30 years later he found the books in his parent’s home in High Point, and he returned it to Smith Library as a donation. The old bible had been given by the Roberts family as a gift to the college on the first day of classes in 1924.

Restoration work cost several thousand dollars, but the bible was brought back to life and is currently on exhibit in Smith Library.

1996 – Technology became the watch word of the 90s.





These early years of online searching were done on VDT (video display terminals) that was connected to a hub and then connected to the internet via a local server. The library at one point had eight of these and students would have to wait to be connected to a resource.



And finally – the world wide web.


Library Homepage – 1999 – courtesy of and the Wayback Machine.

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