VCU Libraries Gallery

VCU's Cabell Library

In 1968 ground was broken and construction on James Branch Cabell Library began. The first phase, consisting of a basement and ground floor was completed and opened in the fall of 1970. At that time VCU student enrollment was 13,000 and the library held 138,945 volumes.

After four more years of construction, the top three floors were finally finished. On June 10, 1976 the library was formally dedicated. Later that year, on December 5th, the Cabell Room was dedicated.

By 1993 the library collection had grown to 1 million volumes and technology was changing the tools of research. In 2009 a collector's edition of The Amazing Spider-Man featuring President Barack Obama on the cover became the 2 millionth item added to library collections. Computers and databases were important to the way students and faculty carried out their work. 

Virginia Commonwealth University continued to grow, and by 2013 enrollment reached 32,000 students. Once again library expansion was essential to meeting students' needs. VCU Libraries, under the leadership of University Librarian John E. Ulmschneider undertook a major building project that included 63,000 square feet of improvements to the existing building and the addition of 93,000 square feet of new construction. 

This year, on March 15, 2016, VCU Libraries celebrates the grand opening of the new James Branch Cabell Library. 

James Branch Cabell Library: building upwards during the 1970s

Building the new Cabell Library: library construction, 2014-2016

Then and Now: Cabell Library prepares for the future