The Henry Madden Library at California State University, Fresno will confirm its status as a major academic library when it adds its one millionth volume next month.

The library will celebrate the milestone and display the volume at a ceremony at noon on Sept. 14 near its front entrance.

The millionth book, “Relación histórica de la vida y apostólicas tareas del Venerable Padre Fray Junípero Serra,” is a biography of Father Junípero Serra, written in Spanish by Francisco Palóu, his close friend and fellow cleric.

Printed in 1787, it is the first printing of the first biography ever published of Father Serra, the founder of the California mission system. An engraved portrait of Father Serra is included as well as a fold-out map tracing Father Serra’s travels in both Alta California and the new California.

The Madden Library is the sixth-largest in the 23-campus California State University system and the only major research library between Sacramento and Northridge. The 1 million volumes consist of approximately 700,000 books and 300,000 volumes of bound periodicals.

The library is known for its wealth of primary source material — especially about Central California — of particular interest to researchers. In fact, officials of the new University of California at Merced have requested that its library be linked to Madden Library to provide research materials for UC faculty and students. Negotiations are under way.

Another part of the millionth volume celebration is the Madden Library’s “First Friday” events throughout the fall. All will be held at 1 p.m. and are open to the public and free. They are:

Sept. 7, Library Conference Room 1209. Fresno State professor Steve Yarbrough will talk about his new novel, “Visible Spirits,” set in the Mississippi Delta in 1902.

Oct. 5, Library South Lawn. Local musicians will provide a musical interlude with a variety of selections.

Nov. 2, Library Conference Room 1209. Fresno Bee movie critic Donald Munro will explore the transition of books to film with examples of successful and not-so-successful attempts.

Dec. 7, Library Conference Room 1209. Angelica Carpenter, curator of the Arne Nixon Center for the Study of Children’s Literature in the Madden Library, will discuss the work of Robert Louis Stevenson.

In addition, contests for Fresno State students revolving around the theme of “1 million” will be held each month.

Michael Gorman, Fresno State’s dean of library services, said the millionth volume is a significant milestone for a library that started out 90 years ago in support of teacher training at the newly established Fresno State Normal School.

By the end of that first academic year, the library had 432 books. In 1914, the first librarian was hired and within 10 years, the collection had grown to more than 10,000 volumes.

It was during Henry Miller Madden’s long tenure as University Librarian (1949-1979) that the library’s collection began to expand appreciably both in size, depth and breadth. Madden was a scholar and a bibliophile whose vision and leadership molded the library into one of the largest and best of its kind.

Gorman, named library dean in 1988, continues the library’s tradition of excellence. Internationally recognized among librarians, Gorman recently received the 2001 Highsmith Library Literature Award at the American Library Association annual conference for his book, “Our Enduring Values: Librarianship in the 21st Century.”

The millionth volume on Father Serra was once owned by Jean Hersholt (1886-1956), a well-known book collector and Hollywood actor. The biography has been translated, adapted and reprinted several times over the years and is a significant source on the early history of California.

The volume was purchased with funds provided by O. James Woodward III and Judith Woodward of Fresno. It was chosen to complement the Madden Library’s Roy J. Woodward Memorial Library of Californiana, with important works relating to the history of California. In 1950 this collection was given to the library by the Roy Woodward’s heirs, among them his teen-age grandson, the future donor of the millionth volume.

In 1997, Jim Woodward and his wife created a $25,000 endowment to fund continuing acquisitions for the Woodward Collection.

(EDITORS: Attached is a history of the library, its leadership through the years and facts about its collections and services.)

History of the Library

When classes began in fall 1911, the then newly established Fresno State Normal School had no library, no books, and no librarian. Recognizing the need for materials to support faculty and student research, the early administration worked to quickly remedy this problem. By the end of the first academic year, a library had been installed in a temporary building on campus and 432 books had been purchased or donated. Two years later, the library was given its first permanent location, which was a room on the second floor of the Administration Building. During that same year, the first librarian (Agnes Tobin) was hired.

Within ten years, the library contained over 10,000 volumes and the staff began to grow. In 1932, the first library building was constructed at a cost of $225,000. This building now houses the library of Fresno City College. In 1956, the campus moved north and the library was one of the first buildings to be built at the new location. By then the library held over 100,000 volumes and the new space was needed desparately. Two additions were built onto this original building. By the mid-1970s, the collection had grown to over 500,000 volumes. The library honored then-director Dr. Henry Madden by naming his own publication as the 500,000th volume.

During the last several decades, the collection has doubled in size and has now reached the 1,000,000 volume mark. As the collection continues to grow at a rate of more than 20,000 volumes each year, the stacks have become more full than ever. The library and its collections remain the heart of a great university.

Collections and Services

Each of the 1,000,000 volumes in the Henry Madden Library has been selected to support the coursework and research conducted on campus. From the first book ever acquired for the Library, a 1900 copy of Andrew Gardenier’s The Successful Stockman and Manual of Husbandry to the latest books on Internet commerce, materials collected for the Library have always mirrored the subjects taught in the classroom. As the focus of academic disciplines and subject areas have grown and changed, the library collection has changed with them. The early collection focused on education, literature, history, geography, and home economics. As the campus evolved from a normal school to a comprehensive university, the collection grew accordingly, adding large numbers of volumes in the sciences, business, engineering, health and medicine, art, music, and ethnic studies. Throughout the decades, the volumes were carefully selected to add value to the existing collection. Dr. Madden personally selected many volumes while serving as college librarian. As a result of 90 years of wise selection by the librarians involved, the current collection meets most of the research, teaching, and learning needs of the campus.

The 1,000,000 volumes consist of approximately 700,000 books and 300,000 volumes of bound periodicals. However, a the library contains much more than just books and periodicals. In addition to the one million printed volumes, the library also contains:

50,000 sound recordings

40,000 musical scores

3,000 videorecordings

150,000 maps

275,000 government reports and documents

50,000 children’s books

1,800,000 individual pieces of microfilm

20,000 rare books and manuscripts

2 replicas of ancient stone tablets (The Rosetta Stone and the Aztec Calendar)

In addition to the materials listed above, the Library provides over 100 computer workstations with access to web sites, library catalogues, databases, and electronic journals. Many of these materials are also available to faculty and students from their homes and offices. Through remote access to electronic resources, Library resources are available on the Internet on a 24/7 basis.

Using a library of over 1,000,000 volumes is not always an easy process. While the ALIS catalogue lists the books and journals that are contained in the Library collection, effective use of those collections may require assistance from a reference librarian. The Madden Library is the only academic library in the state of California that provides professional reference service every hour that the library is open, including until midnight five days a week. No matter when they come, users of the Madden Library are always able to get assistance in using the collections, searching a database, or selecting a research topic.


The Library at Fresno State has had strong leadership throughout its 90 year history. Beginning with the appointment of Agnes Tobin as the first college librarian in 1914, the Library has grown under the direction of several outstanding librarians. Ms. Tobin served the campus for 34 years (1914-1948) and built the foundations of a good college library. Dr. Henry Miller Madden became director in 1949 and served in that capacity until 1979. Dr. Madden’s dedication to scholarship, knowledge of the book trade, and strong commitment to organization resulted in a library collection that was far stronger than those at similar institutions. Dr. Madden personally selected many of the titles for the collection and even made several trips abroad to find and purchase research materials. Dr. Madden was highly respected by librarians, faculty, and the university administration. The library was named in his honorupon his retirement.

Dr. Madden’s assistant, Mrs. Lillie Parker, served as library director from 1979-1988. Mrs. Parker continued the Madden tradition of collection building. After her retirement, Michael Gorman was named Library Director and remains in that position to this day. Mr. Gorman is an internationally recognized leader in the field, having published numerous books and articles in the field of library science. Mr. Gorman continues the dedication of his predecessors to a strong book collection and has lead the Library as it has grown to the 1,000,0000 volume level. Although it is neither the newest nor the largest library in the CSU system, the Madden Library is consistently recognized as one of the best.