Celebrate the 40th Anniversary of the Edgar L. Harden Learning Resources Center!

Edgar Harden Resorce

This year, Northern Michigan University Celebrates the 40th anniversary of the Edgar L. Harden Resource Center. Below the pictures is an excerpt from Professor Russell Magnaghi's A Sense of Time: The Encyclopedia of Northern Michigan University, detailing the building and its history.

You can also watch a video of the construction by clicking here!

Points of interest in the video are the differences of safety in construction then as opposed to today. In the video, there is an absence of construction fencing, rebar protection and the fact that the overhead crane swing works above the workers. Things that were undoubtedly proven to be dangerous.

Inside Outside

The concept of a structure housing a library and associated information services was first developed by President Harden. He fought to have the necessary appropriation passed when the University of Michigan tried to out maneuver him and have the first learning resource center in the state.

Ground breaking took place on June 14, 1967. The building was completed in February 1969, and opened for use in the Fall. Construction cost $5.5 million. The top two floors of the center house of the Lydia M. Olsen Library, which has a 300,000 book capacity. When it originally opened, the first floor housed 220 faculty offices. Although they were to be temporary and lacked privacy, they continued to be fully occupied until September 1989. President Appleberry was instrumental in relocating some of the offices to Magers Hall. The office space continued to be used by faculty as departments moved to Gries Hall (1995), and the last department, Communications and Performance Studies (CAPS) moved to the Russell Fine Arts Building in the summer of 1996.

This former office space went through a reuse in the summer of 1996. Offices for WNMU-FM are located there, along with the University Archives, Academic Computing (offices, classes, and lab), Bookbinders Snack Shop and other offices and meeting rooms.*

The lower level houses the offices and studios and WNMU-FM and WNMU-TV. Audio visual and other offices and repair areas are located here as well.

The center was dedicated to former President Harden on August 11, 1973. A memorial plaque honoring President Harden was set into the building in April 1997. (NN 06/30/1967; 03/28/1969) 

*The addition of Bookbinders Snack Shop and Starbucks was proposed by President Vandament around 1996 who strongly advocated that, without a Student Union, students needed an area in which they could hang out.
(Not included in A Sense of Time: An Encyclopedia of Northern Michigan University)