Fires, Flashbacks and Faith: A History of the Patricia Burke McGannon Library
Those who designed the McGannon Library did so with the forethought to include enough space for future renovations, lots of natural light, and a lovely bird's-eye view of what was once the main entrance to the Norman B. Ream estate and the south lawn of the mansion, Carolyn Hall.
It was March of 1964 when the mansion burned. The devastating blaze left the building a blackened shell. The Marian community rebuilt an academic building, and the library was part of that mid-1960s construction. It was named the Patricia Burke McGannon Library in honor of the mother of a student whose family’s contributions helped make the new facility possible.
Forty-two years later, weeding and re-organizing the collection opened enough space to carve out a new Library classroom. Approval from the board of trustees and a generous donation from the family of Charles Baron made the initial phase of the renovation a reality. The Baron Family Media Room was dedicated on Friday evening, October 19, during homecoming weekend of 2007.
The following Sunday morning, a fire gutted the main computer lab, and the Baron Room was pressed into full-time use on that Monday morning. The classroom now includes 16 computers, with headphones and microphones, a printer, a Smartboard, and wireless access. Last spring, we added cable connections to the classroom and to the main reading room. The Baron Room is also an approved TOEFL iBT (Testing of English as a Foreign Language Internet Based Test) center.
In addition to being an educational resource center, the Library is also a comfortable and inviting physical environment. Toward that goal, donations to the annual fund provided the money to furnish the entryway with additional lighting and comfortable leather chairs. New shelving was installed to help replace what was removed for the Baron Room. The shelves have been arranged to create a comfortable reading area, and the fiction collection was moved to the new space to surround students with books. Students come to the Library daily to study, to work together in groups, and to do research using print, audio/visual, and electronic resources.