Aerial view of O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library

About the Libraries

The University of St. Thomas libraries have played an integral role in support of the research, teaching, and intellectual development of students, faculty, and staff since 1885.

Mission, Vision, & Values

Learn more about what makes the libraries a fundamental part of the University of St. Thomas and how we continue to advance our mission.

Advisory Committee

See the members of the Advisory Committee and learn about their role as advocates for the library.

Directory

Contact information for staff of the St. Thomas libraries.

News, Events, Blogs

Keep up to date on new acquisitions, new library technology, special events, and research tips.

Support the Libraries

Your support helps the libraries remain a vital resource and academic heart of the University of St. Thomas. Learn about the different ways you can contribute.

Annual Report

Each year the library publishes an annual report listing accomplishments, statistics, and observations from the previous academic year.

History

Archival photo of the exterior of O’Shaughnessy Library

Archbishop John Ireland, founder of St. Thomas, was a great lover of books and understood the role libraries have in supporting the advancement of intellectual inquiry. During a European tour in 1886, Ireland purchased “many thousand valuable works” for the school.

Archival photo of library staff putting away books

With the founding of the St. Paul Seminary in 1894, most of those books were taken to the seminary library, leaving the college library with just 500 books. By 1912, however, a new library was established in the recently constructed Ireland Hall, where the collections were organized and bolstered under the guidance of the college’s first appointed library director, the Rev. William Etzel.

Archival photo of a man hanging the O’Shaughnessy signage

The library then moved to the Arts building in 1928, then to Aquinas Hall in 1932. In 1959, the library’s 80,000 books found their first dedicated home in the $1.6 million O’Shaughnessy Library. The building was constructed with funds provided by I.A. O’Shaughnessy (class of 1906) and was his favorite among the many buildings he funded for the college.

Archival photo of a person working at the circulation desk

With a collection of 280,000 volumes and an enrollment of nearly 10,000 students in the early 1990s, the library again outgrew its space. The 1991 opening of the Frey Memorial Library and the creation of the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library Center provided space for 450,000 volumes. It also created new study and research areas for members of the university community with more than 1,600 available seats.

The sun rises behind O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library

Today the University of St. Thomas libraries encompass the O’Shaughnessy-Frey Library, the Archbishop Ireland Memorial Library, Charles J. Keffer Library, and the Schoenecker Law Library.