Site 11: University Library (UL)
755 W. Michigan St.
University LIbrary Exterior View, 1993, UA24-004504
IUPUI Special Collections and Archives
For many years after Indiana University and Purdue University’s Indianapolis campuses merged in 1969 to create IUPUI, the university’s libraries remained scattered. When it opened in 1971, University Library (now University College) housed library materials for the School of Liberal Arts while science, engineering, and technology books remained at Purdue’s old 38th street campus. During these years, librarians at IUPUI worked to expand collections, offer updated technology, provide research assistance, and open an archive. The growth of library collections vastly outpaced available space, and with a desire to bring the collections of two libraries into one building, the groundbreaking for a new library building took place in 1988. Around this same time, philanthropist Ruth Lilly donated two million dollars to provide the university archives with a roomy home in the new library. Phase one of construction, the new university library building, was completed in 1991. At the time the library was dedicated in 1994, it was considered “one of the most technologically advanced academic libraries in the country.” 1
"University Library Extended View, 1973," UA24-003243,
IUPUI Special Collections and Archives
Throughout all of this growth and change, two women became highly influential in the transformation of University Library. Barbara Fischler directed construction of the new library building and Jeannette Matthew created IUPUI’s first university archives (now Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives.)
Director of Libraries at IUPUI
One of Barbara Fischler’s colleagues once noted, “Barbara’s contributions are characterized by the foresight she demonstrated throughout her career, the energies she brought to the introduction and development of new concepts in library services, and her passion for library education.” 2 As director of libraries at IUPUI, Barbara Fischler devoted her career to improving research opportunities for students at University Library. Fischler’s greatest achievement was the construction of University Library, which opened in 1991.
"Barbara B. Fischler, 1990,"
Taken by the Office of Learning and Technology, IUPUI
UA24-006299, IUPUI Special Collections and Archives
Prior to becoming director in 1982, Fischler spent many years as a librarian first at IU Bloomington and later at IUPUI. From 1958 to 1963, she worked as an assistant reference librarian at Bloomington. There, she was “instrumental” in establishing IU’s new undergraduate library. After several years abroad, Fischler obtained a position as a circulation librarian at IUPUI in 1970. She later took a position at the 38th street science, engineering, and technology library. Fischler also held the title of associate professor of IUPUI’s School of Library and Information Sciences, where she taught information sources, literature of the humanities, and the library as an organization. During these years, Fischler served on the search committee for a new library director, sat on several promotion and tenure committees, and became active in the Faculty Council. In 1981, she was promoted from assistant to full librarian and became acting director of the IUPUI libraries. 3
One year later, in 1982, Fischler became director of IUPUI’s libraries. In this capacity she not only oversaw the activities at University Library but also supervised the university’s professional libraries at the Herron School of Art, the Dental School, the Medical School, and the Law School. Fischler also remained active in university development, sitting on task forces on the future of IUPUI libraries and student services. In addition, she served on the faculty council. In 1983, Fischler revived the university’s energy conservation program and succeeded in building support for a yearlong effort to reduce energy consumption on campus by five percent. 4
By this time, University Library (now University College) had outgrown its space. Library facilities within the building were shared with a cafeteria, the offices of the growing School of Social Work, and the department of instructional media services. Throughout the 1980s, Fischler researched technology and building innovations for a new library building. She once noted that she wanted to “create a new library building which would integrate the finest aspects of the traditional print-based sources with the most advanced technologies available.” 5 After breaking ground on the new building in 1988, Fischler supervised construction efforts through all three of its phases. 6 With construction of the new University Library successfully completed, Fischler resigned her position as library director in 1995, and served a short time as director of the School of Library and Information Sciences before retiring. 7
IUPUI's First Archivist
"Jeannette Matthew, 1987," UA24-002712,
IUPUI Special Collections and Archives
In 1975, when Jeannette Matthew was appointed IUPUI's first archivist, she took on the momentous task of assembling records of the university and its predecessor schools. Matthew was the perfect person for the job, and once noted, "It's called being a pack rat. It takes one to do the job." 8 IUPUI's decision to open an archive came at a time when many of the state's universities had not yet considered the idea. The nation's first archives, the National Archives, had opened less than fifty years prior, in 1937, and the decision to open smaller archives throughout the country was beginning to increase in popularity. In fact, the Indianapolis Star noted that Matthews had "opened the first professionally organized university archives in the state." While this may have been an exaggeration, Matthews was certainly among the state's first university archivists. 9
Matthew earned her degree in library science from Park College in Kansas City. She came to Indiana University extension campus in 1956 as a librarian for the graduate school of social work, and later became a librarian for the undergraduate campus. Before being appointed archivist, Matthew served a term as head librarian, during which time she oversaw the construction of a new library building (now University College). She later stepped down to organize the library's book ordering procedures, and eventually accepted the position in IUPUI's archives. 10
As university archivist, Matthew set about collecting records of IUPUI and its predecessor schools. Because no formal collection procedures had been established at the time, she and her assistants began the university's collection with a few flyers and newspapers that they had collected around the campus, along with some assorted administrative files. Soon, retired faculty began donating their records to the new archives. Matthew developed policy statements for the archives and oversaw the expansion of its collections. Her favorite acquisition was the collection of Edna Henry, the first director of the School of Social Work in 1911. 11
Matthew soon became a highly respected archivist, and in 1976 was appointed to the Commission on College and University Archives of the Society of American Archivists. She presented papers on archival procedure at numerous conferences. She also served on Indiana University President Ryan's IU Heritage Commission for 1978-9, which worked to preserve university history and establish an archival policy for all IU campuses. Matthew loved sharing the university's collection with faculty, staff, students, and the public. She began a series of lectures for the faculty on the history of IUPUI in 1979, which evolved into a popular presentation titled "Smack Dab in the Middle of the Swamp." (Part of IUPUI's campus had originally been swampland). Matthew was asked to present this lecture to many groups throughout Indianapolis. She also initiated a series of recorded chats with retired faculty titled "The Way it Was." 12
Besides working to establish a top-notch university archives, Matthew was also active in the Indianapolis community. She co-founded a group aimed at promoting continued education among adults, titled The Adult Education Council of Greater Indianapolis. She also served on the board of directors of the Indiana Women's History Archives with Frances Rhome, IUPUI's first affirmative action officer. The Indiana Women's History Archives was founded in 1989 to collect records of historically important Hoosier women, and has continued their mission of promoting the history of Indiana women as the Indiana Women's History Association. The collections donated as a part of the women's archive initiative are housed at the Indiana Historical Society. 13
Matthew retired from IUPUI in June 1987, and died in August 2000.
1 Green Sheet, 18 no. 31 (2 October 1988); Indiana University Libraries News, 23 no. 16 (22 April 1996).
2 Indiana University Libraries News, 23 no. 16 (22 April 1996).
3 Ibid; Green Sheet, 12 no. 23 (13 June 1982); “Promotion and Tenure,” Indiana University Libraries News, 8 no. 26 (13 July 1981), 2; Indiana University Libraries News, 1 no. 5 (14 December 1973); Indiana University Libraries News, 1 no. 1 (5 October 1973); Indiana University Libraries News, 7 no 8 (31 May 1979), 7; Library Page, 7 no. 2 (21 November 1978), 3; IU Faculty News Letter, 22 no. 3 (9 September 1973), 3.
4 Green Sheet, 13 no. 10 (13 March 1983), 1; Green Sheet, 13 no. 42 (11 December 1983), 2; Indiana University Libraries News, 14 no. 11 (16 March 1987), 3; Library Page, 9 no. 11 (24 May 1983).
5 Barbara B. Fischler, “IUPUI University Library: A Library for the 21st Century,” in T.D. Web, Building Libraries for the 21st Century (Jefferson: McFarland & Company, Inc., 2000), 140-1.
6 Sagamore, 24 no. 7 (19 September 1994), 6.
7 Indiana University Libraries News, 23 no. 16 (22 April 1996).
8 “Pack Rat Loves Her Job as IUPUI’s First Archivist,” Indianapolis Star, 21 October 1979.
9 “Jeannette Matthew had been Librarian and IUPUI Archivist,” Indianapolis Star, 6 September 2000.
11 “The Archives ‘Opening the Door,’” Sagamore, 5 no. 19 (2 February 1976); “Pack Rat Loves Her Job as IUPUI’s First Archivist.”
12 Jeannette Matthew Clipping File, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives, IUPUI; Library Page, 2 no. 8 (15 September 1976), 2; Library Page 7 no. 1 (27 October 1978); Library Page 7 no. 4 (26 January 1979); Jeannette Matthew Correspondence General File, 1986-7, UA 028, Box 47, Ruth Lilly Special Collections and Archives.
13 “Jeannette Matthew had been Librarian and IUPUI Archivist,” “Group to Focus on Women’s Role in State’s History,” Indianapolis Star, 26 February 1989.