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 three libraries on campus: Irwin Library includes collections for business, liberal arts, and performing and visual arts; the Science Library, 2nd floor Levinson Family Hall, houses materials supporting studies in the fields of computer, mathematical, pharmaceutical, physical, biological, and behavioral sciences; and the Education Resource Library, South Campus main building, contains education and curriculum resources to support the College of Education. The combined holdings of the Butler Libraries include online access to approximately 800,000 e-books, 275 databases, 300,000 electronic journals, and 250,00 streaming media titles, plus more than 200,000 print materials, 18,000 audiovisual materials, and more than 17,000 musical scores physically shelved at the three branches.

The Libraries’ mission and core values can be found in full below, followed by the results of our Spring 2023 strategic planning efforts. Our key strategic directions for 2023-26 include increased focus on: marketing, awareness and outreach; strengthening and developing services and collections; archival work; and library space considerations.


Butler University Libraries advance the academic mission of the University by providing expertise, resources, and services that stimulate learning. Central to our mission is preparing undergraduate students to navigate a complex information environment.

The libraries also have a responsibility to support teaching and scholarship, to promote the ethical use and creation of information, and to preserve the intellectual heritage that is at the core of the University.

In the summer of 2023, the Butler University Libraries met to develop a new strategic plan and accompanying initiatives. The results of those discussions produced guiding strategic directions for library efforts.

Following the adoption of the 2013-2016 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.

For information about the library’s participation in the Academic Libraries of Indiana’s Shared Print Initiatives, see the Redefining Collections and Spaces FAQ.


Irwin Library, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, and constructed by Carl M. Geupel, opened for use on September 9, 1963.  The library was dedicated on May 1, 1965, in honor of Benjamin Irwin, one of the founding Trustees of the university, and his family. The Irwin-Sweeney-Miller family of Columbus, IN had been connected with the university all but 13 years since its 1850 founding and, through their Irwin-Sweeney-Miller Foundation donated $1.5 million of the total $2.25 million cost of the design and construction of the building.

Irwin Library is Indiana’s only Yamasaki-designed building, and features distinctive design elements Yamasaki used in the early to mid-1960s:

  • White as the primary color; pre-cast concrete and white quartz conglomerate
  • Arches and vaults from Gothic and Eastern architecture
  • Strong vertical elements, including narrow, high windows
  • Colonnades or loggias with weight-bearing columns
  • Buildings resting on platforms, pediments, or pedestals
  • Decorative metal railings and screens

Yamasaki wanted those entering his buildings to experience a sense of repose, surprise, and delight. Skylights, windows, vaults, and screens create a changing “play of light and shadow” inside and outside his buildings. These elements, plus water features and landscaping, bring nature into his structures.

For more information and photos of the construction and dedication of Irwin, please see the digital exhibit created by the Libraries for the building’s 50th anniversary in 2013.

The Ruth Lilly Science Library is located in the heart of the Butler University science complex, on the second floor of the Holcomb Building.  Renovated in 2020-21, the Science Library has modern furnishings, an abundance of whiteboards, study rooms, and offers 24/7 access to Butler students via card reader. A small computer lab is available, as well as six private study rooms and an instruction classroom.  A small collection of journals and books to support the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the departments of biological sciences, chemistry, computer sciences, physics and astronomy, and mathematics is available, including a self-checkout machine in the secure stacks area.

The Education Resource Library is located in the South Campus Main Building at 1000 W. 42nd Street. Butler purchased the building in 2017 from the Christian Theological Seminary who continue to occupy space primarily on the building’s west side. After a renovation of the east side of the building, the College of Education (COE) relocated from Jordan Hall to South Campus in the summer of 2018.  Resources formerly located in the Education Commons and Curriculum Resource areas of Irwin Library now reside in a self-service branch accessible to all Butler users during weekday business hours when classes are in session. At other times, when the front doors are locked, COE students, faculty, and staff can still obtain access via a Butler ID card reader. A self-service checkout machine is available for easy check out of materials and a return bin is located in the hallway for after-hours returns. The Education Resource Library supports COE students, faculty, and staff by providing access to children’s, young adult, curricular, and professional resources.