Skip to main content

UT celebrates a notable milestone this year: the 30th anniversary of the John C. Hodges Library. The university will mark the occasion with festivities at the library on Monday, October 23.

The celebration begins with a street fair inside the library from 3 to 5 p.m. The second-floor Commons will host retro arcade games, a radio broadcast, and 1,000 orange-and-white cupcakes.

A reception and remarks will follow at 5:30 p.m. in the first-floor galleria outside Special Collections. The adjacent Elaine Altman Evans Exhibit Area will unveil new displays including the original architects’ model for Hodges Library and a pictorial retrospective, UT Then and Now. Both the street fair and the reception are free and open to all.

The striking ziggurat-shaped building familiar to current students and campus visitors is an expansion of an earlier building of the same name that stood on the site until 1984. That first building, officially the John C. Hodges Undergraduate Library, was built in 1969 to deliver collections and services to the arriving wave of baby boomers.

The library is named for John Cunyus Hodges, professor of English and longtime benefactor of the university’s libraries. A scholar of English literature and a UT faculty member for 41 years, Hodges was the author of the Harbrace Handbook, among the most widely used college texts in the country. Hodges died in 1967.

A Harbrace Handbook was placed within the cornerstone of John C. Hodges Undergraduate Library during its construction.

The undergraduate library was the third building constructed on campus solely to house library collections and services. The Carnegie Library was built in 1910 and is part of today’s Austin Peay Building, and the James D. Hoskins Library, opened in 1931, served as the main library on campus for more than 50 years.

By the 1980s, growing collections and new information technologies had begun to outpace the available space and infrastructure. Planners decided to expand the undergraduate library building and create a new main library at the center of the growing campus.

The John C. Hodges Library opened in September 1987 with 40 miles of book stacks and 1.1 million volumes. The new expansion wrapped around the core of the older building and more than tripled the library’s square footage. The Hodges Library was at the time the largest and most modern library building in Tennessee.


Martha Rudolph (865-974-4273,