The Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library is celebrating the 60th anniversary of its current building which opened in 1963! We will have several events throughout the year to celebrate this historic anniversary. We look forward to the Augusta University community celebrating with us! Our first 60th Anniversary celebration event will be Love Your Library on February 15, 2023.
When the Medical College of Georgia began constructing its school building on Telfair Street in 1834, the faculty sent Dr. Louis Alexander Dugas, Professor of Anatomy, to Europe with $6,324 to purchase “an anatomical museum, chemical apparatus, [and] Library” (MCG Faculty Minutes, March 3. 1835). It is believed that the Library was housed on the first floor of the Old MCG Building. Dr. Dugas served as the librarian for many years, in addition to his teaching and other duties. Some members of the MCG Faculty also gave their own medical books to the Library to be used by the students and other faculty.
MCG moved from the Telfair Street building in 1913 to the current campus into what was the Augusta Orphan Asylum. This building became known as the Newton Building and the Library was located on the first floor, next to a chemical laboratory. The MCG administration offices, classrooms, and laboratories were all housed in the Newton Building.
After several decades it was determined that the Newton Building was no longer sustainable. The G. Lombard Kelly Administration Building was completed in 1954 and the Library was moved to its third home. While the Kelly Building was a new and modern facility, the Library was constricted by space, especially study space for the students. The university administration and especially the librarian, Sadie Rainsford, recognized that the Library needed a freestanding building due the university’s expanded programs and increased number of students.
The UGA School of Nursing had been moved from Athens to Augusta to become the MCG School of Nursing in 1956. MCG was offering baccalaureate degrees in Medical Technology and Master’s degrees in various areas of the biosciences and in Medical Illustration. In the 1960s, the Graduate School and the College of Allied Health Sciences and the Dental College of Georgia were established. As the university grew, its campus grew with more buildings.
The Board of Regents approved the construction of a freestanding building for the Library in 1959 and the official groundbreaking was held on January 19, 1962. The local architectural firm Stulb and Eve designed the Library Building which was constructed by the Claussen & Webster firm. The new Library Building was opened in the summer of 1963.
In addition to serving the students and faculty of MCG campus, the Library became known as a center of medical reference for physicians and healthcare professionals in Georgia. By 1978 the Library needed additional space, again primarily due to the growth of MCG as a university with its five distinct areas of academics: medicine, nursing, dentistry, allied health, and graduate studies. The addition to the 1963 Library Building was completed by 1981 and increased the square footage from 29,641 to 79,313 – almost 50,000 square feet. The new space included technological advances for audiovisual equipment and resources for the students and faculty. Within a few years computers and information technology became an integral resource of the Library.
Known as the Medical College of Georgia Library or MCG Library for a little over 150 years, the Library was officially re-named in 1988 as the Robert B. Greenblatt, M.D. Library. Dr. Greenblatt was an internationally known endocrinologist and Professor Emeritus of MCG who passed away in 1987.
Over the years the Greenblatt Library has undergone renovations in order to meet the needs of the Augusta University Health Sciences Campus. In 2022 a new HVAC system was installed for the whole Library Building while the second floor was renovated with additional study rooms, new carpeting, and new lighting. The Historical Collections & Archives was expanded with exhibit and storage space. And soon the additional entrance facing the Laney-Walker Boulevard will be completed in 2023.
The Greenblatt Library is excited to show off the newest renovated work and celebrate our 60th Anniversary. Details of our upcoming events will be posted on our Augusta University Libraries social media outlets and on the AU Calendar Events Calendar. The 60th Anniversary Libguide includes more information and historical photographs that can be accessed here.
NOTE: Medical College of Georgia (or MCG) was the institution-wide name for the Augusta University Health Sciences Campus. Up until 2011, today’s AU Colleges on this Campus were known as MCG School of Medicine, MCG School of Nursing, MCG School of Dentistry, MCG School of Allied Health Sciences, and MCG School of Graduate Studies.