As the University community awaits the opening of the new UTC library, Steve Cox, Team Lead of UTC Special Collections and University Archives, has some rumors to clear up about Lupton Library. An exhibit examining these rumors and showcasing the history of libraries at UTC is on display in UTC Special Collections on the second floor of the Lupton Library, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. until December 1, 2014.
In its forty years as the research center for The University of Tennessee at Chattanooga, several persistent rumors have surfaced about Lupton Library.
“A popular one is that the library is sinking because the architects and engineers forgot to account for the weight of the books during the design process,” Cox said.
Another rumor is that the library has a book bound in human skin.
“This is a popular urban myth for many libraries. This practice, formally known as Anthropodermic Bibliopegy, did exist, but was extremely rare. Very few books in existence today are known to have had this treatment,” Cox said.
Special Collections has several books bound with various animal skins.
“Most rare book collections that have books published prior 1800 will have books bound In a variety of animal skins and leathers, some which are pale like human skin. This may have led to the belief that there are many books today with this binding,” Cox continued.
Opened on January 21, 1974, Lupton Library was one of the first campus buildings planned after the merger of the University into the University of Tennessee system in 1969. The library cost $5.4 million to build and has 116,000 square feet.
The new library will be the fifth library location for the University since the it opened in 1886. The original library was in the Old Main Building (no longer standing), and after that, in Founders Hall. For over thirty years it was in Fletcher Hall, where it shared space with the city library, until Lupton Library opened in 1974.