Creation of the Textiles Library

On March 7, 1887, the General Assembly of North Carolina passed a resolution authorizing a school called the North Carolina College of Agriculture and Mechanical Arts (N.C. A&M). Within two years of the college's opening, support for textile education coalesced, which led to the establishment of the Textiles Department in 1889. When the college opened without a central library in 1889, books were stored in professors' offices and several designated rooms throughout the campus. As the college grew over the next few decades, officially changing its name to North Carolina State College of Agriculture and Engineering (State College) in 1917, the need for a centralized library collection became increasingly apparent. This issue was successfully resolved in 1925 when NC State College president Brooks combined all departmental collections into a central collection. This collection was housed in a new building (now Brooks Hall) that was named in honor of the former N.C. A&M College president and librarian Daniel Harvey Hill Jr. The first textiles book collection was held at the D. H. Hill Library in its original Brooks Hall location.

The impetus for the creation of a specialized textiles library can be attributed to the School of Textiles Dean Malcolm Campbell's request for a Textiles School Library that was presented to the North Carolina State College Library Committee on April 27, 1944. In the weeks following that presentation, a cooperative funding agreement was reached between the School of Textiles and the Library allowing for the creation and operation of a branch library at the School of Textiles. Later in the year, on October 23, Rachel Penn Lane assumed her duties as the first Textiles Librarian. One of her first accomplishments was to organize the textiles collection within the D. H. Hill Library in preparation for relocation to the School of Textiles.

On June 6, 1945, the textiles collection of 1,000 books and periodicals was moved to the School of Textiles in Nelson Hall. The library was housed in a renovated classroom (Room 102) in the basement of the building. Following the move, Lane quickly became engaged with the scholarly research activities of the School by compiling the first list of recent library acquisitions for students and faculty. In 1946 she published two articles highlighting the new Textiles Library and textiles research resources in the February and May issues of the North Carolina State College Textile Forum journal. Unfortunately, she died later in the year. In late 1946, Jane E. Byrd was appointed as the acting Textiles Librarian, a position that she held until 1948 when Katherine McDiarmid was appointed as the permanent Textiles Librarian.

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