History of Bishop Library

From the College’s founding in 1866–67 when a committee formed and collected 100 books for the first library (Boehm Library), the ideals of an aggregated collection of knowledge to be shared publicly germinated during the College’s first four decades. The library often moved from place to place as the collection grew.

However, it was not until 1905 that The Valley opened its first official library through the generosity of philanthropist Andrew Carnegie—for the first time in its history, the College had a permanent physical structure dedicated to housing the world’s knowledge.

For the next half-century, the Carnegie Library also served at times as a lounge, community gathering place, classrooms, bookstore, and administrative offices. Through the desire of the College community for additional space to house its growing collection, the George Daniel Gossard Memorial Library was dedicated in honor of the College’s 10th president (1912–1932) on this site on May 18, 1957.

“To those who will study in this place and find in it a means of initiation into the community of culture and learning, a place where their minds may be liberated and their imagination set free.” 

Gossard Memorial Library would remain virtually unchanged during the next four decades.

The generosity of Vernon and Doris Bishop enabled the expansion of the structure previously located on this site. This building and center of knowledge was dedicated as the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library on April 19, 1996. Mr. Bishop was an industrialist, philanthropist, and entrepreneur who founded Lebanon Seaboard Corporation. Mrs. Bishop provided valuable service to the Lebanon Valley community as a revered civic leader, philanthropist, and volunteer.

Bishop Library was reimagined and rejuvenated in 2016 to provide technological advancements required for 21st-century research and learning. This dramatic renaissance occurred through the financial support of the Bishop Foundation and its family members Kathy, Thomas, and Trudie Bishop.