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Honoring Hayden: the library celebrates its 50-year anniversary with special events

ASU looks back on an iconic building's history while holding high hopes for its future.

Students studying in Hayden Library on ASU's Tempe campus in 1966.

Students studying in Hayden Library on ASU's Tempe campus in 1966.

The celebration of Hayden Library’s 50th anniversary aims to remember the historic building’s past, look forward to its pending reconstruction and reinforce the resources it offers to the estimated 10,000 students who enter its doors daily.

This event, called #Hayden50, will occur Jan. 18 to Jan. 24 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the lobby and lawn of Hayden. On Jan 25., it will conclude in a final party where members of the ASU community will come together to celebrate the history of the library, according to Patty Odle, the program manager for events and communication at the ASU libraries. 

She said when planning this event, she wanted to keep the students in mind.

“When we started to design this event, it was the traditional reception type, but then we started to think about how the students keep us going, and it was important for me to figure out a way that we could celebrate with our students,” she said. “I hope they realize that we’re thanking them for keeping us going all these years, because without them we wouldn’t be serving anyone.”

Odle said that the first five days will provide to students free food, games and a chance to win special prizes through Sun Devil Rewards.

“We’ll have music and food on the first floor of the old entrance where we used to come into the library years ago, and that will be set up with things that are special about Hayden, like some of our collections,” Odle said.

Britt Lewis, the communications specialist for ASU libraries, said #Hayden50 is also a way to highlight everything the library has.

“We’re a world-class public research university and it’s really a chance for us to pause and celebrate the massive amount of collections, resources and things that students might not be aware of,” she said. “We have a copy of the Gutenberg Bible here, we have a Star Wars collection and we have a copy of Alice and Wonderland originally illustrated by Salvador Dali.”

While #Hayden50 does looks back at the history of this library, it also provides an outlet to look forward towards Hayden’s future as it will begin to undergo renovations.

Lewis said in the next six-to-eight months the building will start a complete transformation.

"The changes are really much in line with Michael Crow’s whole drive behind what ASU is,” she said. “Libraries are starting to change around the world, especially with more electronic information, so we’re really looking to change how a library serves the students at ASU, which is a very forward-thinking college.”

Jim O’Donnell, a University Librarian who is involved in Hayden’s new look, said that they are focusing on bringing the things that are 50-years-old to up to speed, making it more modern and accessible.

“I expect from the outside, you will have to look to see the difference, and the main difference will be that we will have entrances now on the main ground floor level of the tower as well as the underground entrance,” he said. “Internally, it will look like nothing it looks like now — it will be bright, open, airy, much more comfortably furnished, and you’ll have electricity everywhere.”

O’Donnell said Hayden, which was built in 1966, has served students well and now deserves respect in the form of this celebration and the renovation.

“We’re making sure that as ASU is a No. 1 innovative, forward-looking, voyage-to-the-asteroid university, that we also know and understand the communities, the people and the history of the place where we live and work,” O’Donnell said. “We want them to feel that it’s a place that knows who they are and how this remarkable place has come together.”

Hannah Davis, a freshman studying secondary education in history, said that she thinks of history as a story and finds it important for students to know the history of the institution they attend.

“When people think of Hayden they don’t really think that much of it, but I think if they understood the history they would be able to have a greater appreciation for it,” she said. “You can see it as a place to do homework, but it’s also a start of a lot of great ideas.”

“If you’re an ASU student right now, you are here at a historic moment," Lewis said.

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