Mission & Facts


It is the mission of the Butler University Libraries to actively support the educational goals of Butler University by providing facilities, services, resources, technology, and educational opportunities that facilitate access to information. Central to this mission are the needs of undergraduate students.

The libraries also have a responsibility to support teaching and scholarship and to help preserve the intellectual heritage which is at the core of the university's overall mission.

Strategic Plan 2013-2016

In the fall of 2012, the Butler University Libraries met to develop a new strategic plan and accompanying initiatives. The results of those discussions is available as a PDF.

Collection Policy

Following the adoption of the 2013-16 Strategic Plan, library faculty and staff worked to develop a new Collection Policy based on the plan and its initiatives.  The new policy document was finalized and adopted in August of 2013, and is available here as a PDF.

For information about the Shared Print Initiative, see the Redefining Collections and Spaces FAQ.

Facts about the BU Libraries

The Butler University Libraries make available the materials needed to support study, teaching, and research in all areas of intellectual endeavor pursued at Butler. There are two libraries on campus. The Irwin Library includes the business; education and curriculum resources; liberal arts; and performing and fine arts collections. The Ruth Lilly Science Library houses materials supporting studies in the fields of computer, mathematics, pharmaceutical, physical, biological and behavioral sciences. The combined holdings of the Butler Libraries include approximately 100,000 e-books, 200 databases, 35,000 electronic journal subscriptions, 335,000 print materials, 16,000 audiovisual materials, and more than 17,000 musical scores.

Library faculty are available to offer individual research assistance through walk-up assistance at the libraries' information desks, instant messaging: , phone: 940-9235, and by appointment. Librarians also collaborate with assigned colleges and departments to provide discipline-specific, classroom instruction on library research skills. In addition, students can obtain basic research and technology support for their classes by visiting or contacting the Information Commons. This is a student-staffed, class support service where students can receive basic research help or technology training related to their classes. The Information Commons service includes a walk-up desk in Irwin Library; numerous online communication options: texting, IM, email, and phone; and prearranged appointments.

The libraries' web site: serves as a portal to the libraries' online and print collections and provides details about services, staff, policies and hours. A great place to start ones research is at the subject LibGuides directory. Created by library faculty, LibGuides are available based on subject areas, Butler majors, and specific Butler classes. Butler Libraries supports the statements and values articled in the American Libraries Association's Library Bill of Rights.


Irwin Library

The Irwin Library opened for service on Sept. 9, 1963. It was dedicated in memory of William G. Irwin, a longtime benefactor of Butler University and member of the Board of Trustees. The building was designed by world-famous architect Minoru Yamasaki in a unique blending of Middle Eastern, Classical Greek, Italian Gothic and Japanese influences. Slender columns of pre-cast concrete, an expanse of arched windows, an atrium open to all three stories set off by cylindrical chandeliers and a skylight above, and a fountain and pool on the main level create a unique study environment.

The Irwin Library provides seating for about 400 students at study tables, individual study carrels, and group/individual study rooms. Collaborative learning spaces are available where students can move soft seating to facilitate group work. Irwin Library provides access to desktop PCs and Macs, maintains a computer lab in the Information Commons area, offers laptops for checkout, and supports wireless access throughout the building.
The lower level of Irwin Library houses the Education Commons which serves as a centralized library resource location for College of Education students and faculty. In addition to scholarly books and periodicals covering education-related topics, the Education Commons collections include children's and young adult literature and related reference books, K-12 textbooks, and elementary and secondary curriculum resource materials. A Rich Media area, where students can record and edit audio and video presentations, is available to support students working on multimedia projects. The Education Commons also includes group workstations, the Phi Delta Kappa Reavis Reading Area, and a classroom where several College of Education courses are held.
Music, art, and dance materials are located together in specially designated areas of Irwin Library. Reference materials and the Music and Fine Arts Librarian's office are located on the main floor in the northeast corner of the building. Circulating materials in these disciplines are housed on the second floor. CD, DVD, and videocassettes can be obtained at the Information Commons Desk.

The Hugh Thomas Miller Rare Books and Special Collections Room is located on Irwin Library's third floor. Early or rare books, prints, manuscripts, scores, maps, newspapers, and memorabilia can be found here. Special collections include the largest English language collection about the Pacific Islands in the mainland United States; the most important Sibelius collection outside of Finland; and other smaller specialized collections. This department also administers the University Archives and the Eliza Blaker Room.

Ruth Lilly Science Library

The Ruth Lilly Science Library is located in the heart of the Butler University science complex, on the second and third floors of the Holcomb Building. Comfortable furnishings and a skylight on the third floor create a pleasant and quiet atmosphere for research and study. The Science Library can seat approximately 100 users, provides access to desktop PCs, offers laptops for checkout, and supports wireless access.

In addition to printed materials, the library maintains extensive DVD/videocassette collections and provides online access to numerous science and technology databases. The library and its services are available to the entire Butler community. A Science Librarian is available weekdays for assistance.


Last updated October 6, 2014.