January 20, 1979.
On this day, a free shuttle-bus service commenced between IUPUI and the Indiana University-Bloomington main library (now Herman B Wells Library). Each Saturday morning at 8:30am the bus would depart from the parking lot north of the IUPUI Blake Street library (now Taylor Hall) and east of Cavanaugh Hall and arrive at the Bloomington library about 9:45am. The bus would return to Indianapolis at 3:45pm.
The free shuttle was the brainchild of the IUPUI Student Assembly, who suggested the need for it to the director of the IUPUI library, Robert J. Bonner. It grew out of the fact that library holdings at IUPUI were woefully inadequate to support research and learning for students and faculty alike. Bonner obtained approval from IU administrators and trustees.
Users needed to sign up in advance to reserve seats for the free trip. The bus accommodated 38 riders.
The issue of inadequate library holdings at IUPUI outside of the professional schools was a legacy of IUPUI growing out of an under-resourced extension campus that had few robust undergraduate programs. The working arrangement for decades was that students could start their studies at one of the regional extension campuses and then move to Bloomington to take more advanced, upper-level classes. The system left the regionals (and Indianapolis) starved of books, journals, and other required library materials.
It was this two-tiered system of resource allocation that Indianapolis politicians rebeled against when they called for a separate state university in Indianapolis. Students chafed at the lack of books in the library. The issue frequently appeared in the IUPUI Sagamore, the student newspaper, as a top complaint.
The paucity of library resources at IUPUI continued to be a major problem for many years and one that was high on campus administrators' "to-do" lists. Starting in 1988, with the IUPUI Development Plan, IUPUI leaders focused attention on building a new library building that would accommodate more books and journals, as well as to leverage new technologies to put vast quantities of scholarship into the hands of faculty, students, and staff. Groundbreaking for University Library, a large structure loaded with high-tech infrastructure to accommodate electronic access to materials, occurred in 1990.
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