Library Chronology



First Academy library opens in the Academy Building.

1911 Oct 26

Cornerstone of Davis Library laid.

1912 Dec

Davis Library, built and furnished for $82,000, is dedicated.


Friends of the Academy Library founded.

1965 Nov

Louis I. Kahn chosen as architect for new Academy Library.

1969 Apr 1

Ground broken for new Library and Elm St. Dining Center.

1971 Nov 16

Classes halted while students and faculty move 60,000 books into the new library.

1972 Oct 21

New Academy Library dedicated, with ceremony and dinner at which Louis Kahn spoke.

1973 Sept

Henry F. Bedford, class of 1948, named Academy Librarian when Rodney Armstrong leaves after 23 years to become head of the Boston Athenaeum.


Friends of the Academy Library revitalized after being dormant for some years.

1977 Sept

Jacquelyn H. Thomas named Academy Librarian.

1982 May

Lamont Poetry Series begins, thanks to the Lamont Fund, established by Corliss Lamont, class of 1920. Two poets are invited each year to give readings of their poetry and to attend English classes. The first poet is Jorge Luis Borges.

1991 Nov 16

New Academy Library celebrates its 20th anniversary.

1994 Jul

Library's computerized catalog BIBLION goes online to users within the Academy.

1996 Spring-Summer

A telecommunications center is created in the Library's basement.    

1996 Sep 28

Academy Library renamed and dedicated as the Class of 1945 Library honoring Dr. Lewis Perry.

1997 May

The American Institute of Architects confers the 1997 25 Year Award on the Phillips Exeter Academy Library, Exeter, New Hampshire, designed by Louis I. Kahn, FAIA.

1997 Dec

BIBLION, the Library's online catalog system, made accessible to internet users outside campus community.

2001 Jan 26

Library opens CinemExeter, a collection of entertainment videos, in response to request from Student Council.

2001 Feb 27 - Mar 3

Ten Tibetan monks from the Drepung Gomang Monastery create a sand mandala on the main floor of the library.

2002 May 3

Class of 1945 Library celebrates 20th anniversary of the Lamont Poetry Program.

2003 Nov

My Architect, a film by Nathaniel Kahn on the life and work of his father, Louis I. Kahn, is released, with footage of the Academy Library.

2004 April 27

Lamont Younger Poets competition established in memory of former instructor in English Rex McGuinn. The prize honors poems of exceptional promise written by juniors and lowers at the Academy.

2004 Dec

Brochure is published highlighting some of the holdings of the library's Special Collections.

2004 Dec

Friends of the Academy Library celebrate their 30th anniversary with the publication of a collection of letters sent to the Friends of the Library over the last 30 years. The letters cover a period from September 1973 to November 2003.

2005 May 19-20

The Class of 1945 Library is one of 12 buildings featured on a set of commemorative stamps released by the U.S. Postal Service. Entitled "Masterworks of Modern American Architecture," the set is released on May 19, 2005, with a second day of issue ceremony held at the Library on May 20.


The Academy Library celebrates its 100th birthday.

2006 16 Nov    

The Academy Library celebrates the 35th anniversary of the moving of the books.

2007 Sept

Over the summer, the library created a new teaching space for classes in the basement, complete with a traditional Harkness table. In addition, wireless access is now available in Rockefeller Hall and the Kaplanoff Periodicals Room.


Jacquelyn H. Thomas retires as Academy Librarian, and Edouard L. Desrochers is named Interim Academy Librarian & Academy Archivist.

2011 July

Gail G. Scanlon named Academy Librarian

2015 Mar

After being refurbished/renovated, the ground floor of the Library is repurposed as a "commons," a more comfortable space for group study and socializing.

2021 July

The Center for Archives & Special Collections opens in the Library’s basement, offering  a reading room, exhibit space, a Harkness classroom and compact stack rooms all in a climate-controlled environment and merging archival materials and rare books into one space. Also included in the new center is The Jay Whipple Special Collections Vault, a gift in honor of Jay Whipple, Jr. '51 by his family.