Chronicling the History of Stony Brook University Libraries

July marks the 58th year of SBU Libraries! When did the first library open on the SBU campus? Why is the Melville Library a building within a building? And when did the catalog first go online? All of these questions and much more are answered and documented on the timeline history of Stony Brook University Libraries. Take a trip through SBU history, and learn about the key events and milestones that have shaped the libraries. View below a selection of photographs from the timeline history.

Aerial of the SBU Campus, c1962. The Library is seen under construction, center left (noted with an arrow). Nicolls Road appears at the bottom of the photograph. Source: University Archives, SBU Libraries.
This photograph taken in 1969 captures the beginning of the expansion project on the Melville Library.The construction took place between 1969 and 1971 – and amazingly, the library never closed! Source: University Archives, SBU Libraries.

Melville Library, circa October 1970. Source: University Archives, SBU Libraries.
Area of the present-day North Reading Room, c1975. Source: University Archives, SBU Libraries.

East side of the Melville Library, c1987. Yes – this is now the area of the grassy Staller Center steps and Fine Arts. Source: University Archives, SBU Libraries.
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 Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives