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Irwin Library in snow

Mission & History

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.

Strategic Plan 2017-2020

In the fall of 2012, the Butler University Libraries met to develop a new strategic plan and accompanying initiatives. The results of those discussions produced guiding strategic priorities for library efforts, organized into three-year cycles of strategic plans since that first year. The three-year strategic plan's initiatives are then refreshed yearly. The most recent strategic plan document was produced in FY16-17 and is available here.

Collection Policy

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 of Butler University

Irwin Library, designed by Minoru Yamasaki, and constructed by Carl M. Geupel, opened for use on September 9, 1963. The library was dedicated in memory of William G. Irwin, a longtime benefactor of Butler University and member of the Board of Trustees. Benjamin Irwin, a signer of the University's founding charter in 1850, was also an ancestor of the Irwin-Sweeney-Miller family of Columbus, IN, who donated $1.5 million for 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
  • Colonades 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.


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. It is available to the entire Butler University community, but houses collections and offers specialized services to support the College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences, and the departments of biological sciences, chemistry, computer sciences, physics and astronomy, and mathematics.