Evolution of a Library:

The First Fifty-Three Years of the Flint Junior College Library, 1923 - 1976

— by Betty C. Cyr and Barbara S. Garland

On May 2, 1923 the Flint Board of Education created Flint Junior College. Flint Junior College was originally housed in what is now known as Flint Central High School. While the college was organizationally distinct from the high school, it did make use of the high school's facilities, including the library.

It was also this year that a separate library was established for Flint Junior College. The library was located in a room adjoining the high school library. The library started out with a collection of 140 books to serve its student population of 114. By 1926 Flint Junior College ranked 2nd among junior colleges in Michigan, with Grand Rapids being first. The library's collection now totaled 1,000 and the student population was 178.

Behind the high school stood the old Oak Grove Sanatorium built in the 1890s. This building became Flint Junior College's new home in 1931. Several college areas did stay back at the high school and this included the bulk of the library collection. A small part of the collection moved to the Oak Grove building. The situation stayed this way until 1938 when the two library facilities were merged in what had been the kitchen and dining area of the old sanatorium.

In 1952 the college began construction on a new 32-acre campus on land that was deeded to the college by Charles Stewart Mott. The Ballenger Field House was the first new building and in 1953 construction was begun on the Harlow H. Curtice Community College Building. This was to be the library's new home. The library moved into the Curtice Building on February 1955. The library had about 8,000 square feet of floor space, seating for 288 students and 17, 000 books.

Charles Stewart Mott deeded 61/4 additional acres to the college in 1955 and construction began on what was to become Mott Memorial Building. Flint College and the University of Michigan formed Flint College of the University of Michigan in September 1956. 28 junior and senior level classes were offered on the Flint Junior College campus. With the University of Michigan classes came University of Michigan money for library books. The library became a cooperative effort, the book collection of both colleges were available to the students and faculty of either college. The dual use library moved to a new, more spacious home in the Mott Memorial Building in August 1957.

In February 1958 a plan was approved to build a three-story building that would house an officially consolidated collection of both colleges. Charles Stewart Mott gave more than one million dollars for the construction of the building. The building would be named The Charles Stewart Mott Library. The library's collection made the move to its fourth home in the fall of 1960.

The book collection of the joint library expanded rapidly during the early years. The library was awarded many federal and organizational grants including ones from the Industrial Mutual Association (IMA) and the Association of College and Research Libraries. The library added its 100,000th volume in 1967.

Since 1956 the college and the University of Michigan at Flint shared the Mott Community College Library. In 1974 the University of Michigan at Flint developed a master building plan. This plan led to the construction of the University's first building on the Flint River, the Classroom and Office Building. The University's book collection started moving in the fall of 1976 and was completed by January 1977. The University took with them 68,807 volumes. This left 75,919 volumes in the Mott Library.

Today the Mott Library continues to support college programs and courses. The library collection has continued to grow and now includes more than 110,000 books. New technologies have been embraced and the Mott Library currently offers access to the Internet, World Wide Web and several dozen on-line databases.

— Summary by Mike Ugorowski, 1998

Work Cited

Cyr, Betty C., and Barbara S. Garland. Evolution of a Library: The First Fifty-three Years of the Flint Junior College Library, 1923-1976. Flint, MI: C. S. Mott Community College, c. 1976. Print.