Library holds knowledge, resources for students


The Hilton M. Briggs Library was built in 1977 and is named for one of South Dakota State’s presidents, Hilton M. Briggs. The building houses more than 700,000 informational resources in print and with online subscriptions


South Dakota State University surprised long-time President Hilton M. Briggs in 1977.  The largest library structure in South Dakota, the Hilton M. Briggs Library, was named after him. 

The library had small beginnings in a small room in 1887. The building was called Old Central and no longer stands at SDSU. This so-called “library” moved from room to room until it grew to occupy most of the first floor of Old Central, according to the book “South Dakota State University’s Library: A History.” 

In 1927, President Calvin Coolidge dedicated the Lincoln Memorial Library. The building served as the library until 1977 when the Hilton M. Briggs Library was built.

SDSU now has more than 700,000 volumes including books, online subscriptions and media-type items, said Kristi Tornquist, Chief University Librarian.

Tornquist said the library’s collection isn’t just physical space but also digital space.  One of the new features of the library is Open Prairie.

Open Prairie is an institutional repository of students and faculty’s research. From this website, anyone from around the world can see their work, Tornquist said. 

The library also hosts events for students to attend and has exhibits throughout the building.

Emmeline Elliott, the library operations manager, is part of the committee that decides what exhibits and events will happen at the Briggs Library. The committee meets once a month to plan and choose topics that are relevant to students. There are currently four events planned for this semester.

“It is a great opportunity for students to connect with each other and faculty,” Elliott said.

Thirty employees work at Briggs and about half of them are librarians. Sixteen additional student workers also assist with a variety of tasks and process archival collections.

International Affairs & Outreach, the Writing Center and Center for the Enhancement of Teaching and Learning all call Briggs their home. These offices are in a centralized location for faculty and students to use. 

Many international students use the library consistently and having the International Affairs & Outreach office there makes it easier for them, she said. 

Before the Writing Center was housed in the library, staff received questions related to writing that they could not answer. When the Writing Center moved in, it allowed students easy access to the help they were looking for, Tornquist said.

Elliott said the improvements have helped library staff and students alike. Many students use the library consistently and during finals week.

“I like that I can focus really well and everyone there has the same goal,” said Kendrah Schafer, a sophomore animal science and agricultural business major.

Melissa Malakowsky, a freshmen animal science major, said the atmosphere in the library is quiet and helpful.

“It’s a really good environment to study and do homework,” Malakowsky said.