Connelly Library, Then and Now

The Connelly Library stands as one of the most iconic buildings on campus. Now, 30 years after it opened to students in the Fall of 1988, a $1 million grant proposes exciting upgrades.

The Library was named after John F. and Josephine Connelly. John Connelly was a member of the La Salle University Board of Trustees from 1958 to 1988, and the library was funded by donations from the Connelly Foundation.

Over the past 30 years, the Connelly Library has seen information and technology change in drastic ways. The foundation of service, though, has remained solid and its dedicated librarians, archivists, curators, and staff have supported the La Salle community. The Library grew in national, and international reputation due to the work of John Baky, Director of University Libraries for 26 years, now University Librarian Emeritus and Curator of Special Collections. Some of its finest research collections are due to contributions from Dr. James A. Butler, Professor Emeritus of the La Salle University English Department, and Curator of the Wister Family Collection, and Dr. Kevin Harty, professor and previous Chair of the English Department.


The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania has announced a $1 million Redevelopment Assistance Capital Program grant to Connelly Library for developing a three-phase project supporting improved-programming, physical spaces, and amenities along with traditional library functions on the first floor.

“Connelly Library has served as the academic hub of La Salle University for thirty years,” said Sarah Clark, Ph.D., Dean of Connelly Library. “The University and the State of Pennsylvania’s investment in this renovation will allow the library’s professionals and staff to more effectively serve the university community for the next thirty years and beyond. The new Learning Commons space on the first floor of the library will provide La Salle’s students and faculty with new technology and support, individual and collaborative study spaces, a state of the art information literacy classroom, and greater visibility for our nationally regarded archives and special collections.


“News of this funding could not come at a more appropriate time,” said La Salle University President Colleen M. Hanycz, Ph.D. “We applaud Governor Tom Wolf, State Senator Art Haywood, State Senator Sharif Street, State Representative Rosita Youngblood, State Representative Isabella Fitzgerald, and the full General Assembly for this award. The project supports improved programming, student activities, and amenities at La Salle.”



Highlights of The Department of Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts include:


  • Hundreds of rare and illustrated editions of the Holy Bible.
  • Archival material related to historic properties on La Salle’s grounds. 
  • The largest collection in the world of literary and creative works concerning the Vietnam War.
  • Unique academic collections exploring popular culture, including a collection on Bob Dylan.