In 1926 the Millsaps-Wilson Library was first established on the site it occupies today. The original library, which had separate reading rooms for male and female students, was made possible by a $50,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation. In 1955, Mr. and Mrs. H.J. Wilson of Hazlehurst, Miss., funded the construction of the current library building, designed to accommodate a student body of 1,000 and to house 85,000 volumes. In 1971, the library facilities were further expanded, doubling the floor space, seating, and shelving capacities of the existing library.
Today, the Millsaps-Wilson Library contains over 200,000 volumes, 655 periodical subscriptions, and a wide variety of electronic services, including online and CD-ROM databases that are available to students via the internet. The library houses approximately 400 seats in individual study carrels, tables, and private study rooms as well as browsing and lounge areas. Facilities also include a wide variety of audio-visual materials and listening/viewing rooms. In addition to these offerings, the library also maintains the Millsaps College Archives and several special collections for student use.
To the right of the library entrance rests the Blymer Bell, an important piece of College history. The bell was originally selected and commissioned by a group of Sunday school children at the First United Methodist Church in Lake Charles, La., as part of a new church construction project in 1899. For months, the children brought in their pennies and nickles until the required sum for the purchase of the bell was raised. The bell was then shipped to Lake Charles and hung in the belfry of the new church on July 19, 1900. When a severe hurricane struck the church in 1918, the belfry was blown down. Rather than install the bell in a new church, the congregation decided to donate it to Millsaps College upon the suggestion of Bishop C.B. Galloway, the presiding Bishop of the Louisiana and Mississippi Conferences and also a member of the Millsaps Board of Trustees. Over the years, the Blymer Bell has signaled chapel services, the hours of classes and meals, special athletic events, and even the ending of World Wars with its rich B-flat ring.
Treasures of the Millsaps-Wilson Library:
a 16th-century Bible signed first editions of most works by Eudora Welty a 17th-century copy of Walter Raleigh's The History of the World an over-sized Illustrations of the Dramatic Works of Shakespeare (1852)
There are also signed works by many authors, including
Robert Frost Ogden Nash e.e. cummings Pearl S. Buck Edgar Lee Masters William Faulkner Thornton Wilder