From the Archives: A Library Transforms (Part I)

Photograph of the Melville Library taken on June 2, 1970.

Photograph of the Melville Library at Stony Brook University taken on June 2, 1970.

45 years ago, in June of 1970, the transformation of the Melville Library was underway. The original building opened in 1964 with seating for 700 students. The design was modular; the intent was to increase the footprint of the building to keep pace with the university’s rapidly expanding programs and growing enrollment. In 1965, the library’s holdings included 100,000 volumes. Less than three years later, nearly 270,000 items comprised the collection, covering many disciplines, including science, music, and government documents.

In the left background, a crane is positioned near the Earth and Space Sciences building, also under construction. On the right side, you can see the first half of the “Bridge to Nowhere,” which eventually connected the Stony Brook Union to the Melville Library and Fine Arts. Construction of the bridge lasted from 1967 to 1977. The bridge was removed in 2002. -Kristen J. Nyitray, Head, Special Collections and University Archives, University Archivist


Kristen Nyitray

Kristen Nyitray

Associate Librarian; Director, Special Collections and University Archives; and University Archivist at Stony Brook University Libraries
Contact her for research assistance with rare books, manuscript collections, historical maps, and SBU history. E-mail:
Kristen Nyitray
Posted in Special Collections & University Archives