Dedication of the Joseph S. Stauffer Library

A room without books is as a body without a soul.



Message from the Principal

William C. Leggett, Principal and Vice-Chancellor

"The true university of these days is a collection of books", wrote Thomas Carlyle in 1841, the year of Queen's founding. A century and a half later we might say, less poetically, that the true university is a collection of information resources. Yet Carlyle's essential point remains valid: a library is a university's lifeblood, vital to its function and growth as both a teaching and a research institution.

The completion of the Joseph S. Stauffer Library is the first and most significant step in the inauguration of a library system that will meet the needs of Queen's University well into the 21st century. It is an electronic bridge, linking the traditional print media with those of a new era. Not only is it the key to the collection of data, wherever in the world needed information may be located, but its very existence epitomizes Queen's long-standing esteem for academic excellence and scholarly achievement.

The Queen's community today acknowledges with gratitude the vision of the Ontario Government and our own Trustees, along with the generosity of the many alumni, faculty, staff, students and friends who made this wonderful building possible. In particular gratitude to the Foundation which bears the name of the late Joseph S. Stauffer, we are pleased to dedicate this magnificent library in the name of that loyal alumnus.

Joseph S. Stauffer

Joseph Stanley Stauffer, in whose honour the new library is named, was a quiet, unassuming man who graduated from Queen's in 1920.

Born in Galt, Ontario, on May 16, 1896, to Joseph and Magdalena Stauffer, he attended Galt Public School and Collegiate Institute until 1914, when he enrolled in Applied Science at Queen's to major in metallurgy. World War I intervened, however, and after only a short time in Kingston, he enlisted in the Royal Navy Air Service. He served overseas in 1916 and 1917, then returned to Queen's to complete his degree. Following his graduation, he worked for two years as an engineer, then pursued graduate studies in fuel technology at the Imperial College of Science in London, England.

Once back in Canada, Stauffer began developing business interests in a wide range of areas, including fuel technology, telephones, textiles, stamping and finance, eventually amassing a large fortune by dint of hard work and what appeared to others to be a magic touch. He remained modest about it, however, confessing to Alumni Affairs correspondent Herb Hamilton that he had accomplished "limited successes and plenty of failures".

His lifestyle was also modest. He and his wife Annabelle spent most of their married life in a small apartment on Jamieson Street in Toronto, where they lived unostentatiously, even frugally, allowing themselves only one real luxury -- an annual vacation cruise.

Education was important to Stauffer, and his generosity has benefited every academic institution he attended, including Queen's.

"Outstanding" is the word he used to describe his education here, and the many ways in which he has assisted the university over the years would seem to reflect his opinion. Both during his lifetime and after his death in 1978, through the Joseph S. Stauffer Foundation, Queen's has been the recipient of many substantial and often anonymous gifts, one of the most important to date being the Foundation's major contribution to the Joseph S. Stauffer Library.

Although he shunned the limelight all his life, Stauffer's family feels that he would be pleased to have his name associated with such a valuable educational resource. Thus it is in grateful recognition of his longtime generosity to Queen's that the university dedicates the Joseph S. Stauffer Library in his honour.


This library was supported generously with funding from:

  • The Joseph S. Stauffer Foundation
  • Government of Ontario

Queen's University gratefully acknowledges the following benefactors, whose gifts to the Queen's Challenge Campaign helped build this library:

  • The Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce
  • The Students of Queen's University
  • The Atkinson Charitable Foundation
  • The H.G. Bertram Foundation
  • The E.W. Bickle Foundation
  • The Harold Crabtree Foundation

as well as many other faculty, staff, alumni and friends of the library

The Joseph S. Stauffer Library

If the Joseph S. Stauffer Library is to have a resident spirit, let it be Janus, the Roman god of gateways. Like Janus, the library stands at at threshold, looking in two directions at once: toward the past and the tradition of excellence long associated with Queen's and toward the future and the age of electronic communication. Designed to ensure a seamless continuity between traditional library practices and a new era in information science, the library embodies the best of both worlds -- as will the Douglas Library after its transformation into a state-of-the-art science and engineering library in the next few years.

The Joseph S. Stauffer Library, again like Janus, is the holder of a key -- in this case, the key to many worlds of information, some familiar, some new. [...] The library's six levels comprise over 230,000 square feet, which includes seating space for over a thousand library patrons, administrative offices and 1.5 million volumes: the Social Sciences and Humanities collections, periodicals and microforms, as well as Government Documents, Special Collections, maps, air photographs and other materials that [previously] resided apart from the core collections. Services include a new Special Readers' Services for students with special needs and, as in the past, Information/Reference, Circulation and Interlibrary Loans.

But Janus's key can unlock even more doors. The Library is also a completely networked electronic environment. By the 21st century, print media may no longer be the primary means of scholarly communication in some disciplines, and the library is equipped to accommodate that. A CD-ROM network and QLINE Plus (the enhanced Queen's University Library Network), which is linked to the Internet, provide access to a wide range of databases and library catalogues, both internal and worldwide. More than 80 electronic workstations and 635 study spaces with electrical connections and potential for voice-data connections allow patrons to use either the library's computers or their own.

Architecturally, too, the library is a fine amalgam of past traditions and capacity for the future. Its designers, Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects, aimed to reflect the massive stone masonry of Queen's as well as the collegiate architecture of Europe and North America, thus linking the library to the great academic traditions and providing a sense of stability and continuity. Yet the $42 million building is crafted in a modern idiom. (More details about the building are given below).

The library has more than adequate facilities for the present, and flexibility for future needs is built into its very fabric. Expected to meet user and collection-storage needs up to the year 2010, the building can be extended when the need arises without compromising the optimal functioning of the library or the integrity of its design.

Janus is also the god of beginnings, and the Joseph S. Stauffer Library, a magnificent beginning itself, stands poised at the threshold of not only a new century but also a new era in communication and information science.

Architects and Contractors

  • Architects: Kuwabara Payne McKenna Blumberg Architects
  • Consulting Architects: Moffat Kinoshita Associates Inc.
  • General Contractor: Eastern Construction Company Limited
  • Structural Consultant: Robert Halsall and Associates Limited
  • Mechanical Consultant: J.S.A. Energy Analysis Inc.
  • Electrical Consultant: Mulvey & Banani International Inc.
  • Cost Consultant: James F. Vermeulen Cost Consultant Ltd.
  • Library Consultant: McAdams Planning Consultants, Inc.

Committees Involved in the Creation of the Library

Many people are responsible for helping to bring the Stauffer Library into existence through their service on one or more of the committees listed below.

Foremost among those people is Alan Green, whose vision, dedication and leadership have been crucial to the success of the project. He has served as both Chair of the Task Force on the Library of the 21st Century and Chair of the Stauffer Library Building Committee. Also greatly appreciated is the work of Alan Broadbent and Dan Burns, past and present Chairs of the Campus Planning and Development Committee.

More than 100 additional people - members of the Queen's community and others - have also given much time, energy and talent to the project. The value of their contributions is incalculable.


  • Task Force on the Library of the 21st Century
  • Campus Planning and Development Committee
  • Stauffer Library Executive Committee
  • Architect Selection Jury
  • Building Committee and its Program and Technology Subcommittee
  • Implementation Committee
  • Historical House Relocation Committee
  • Interiors Committee and its Working Groups (User Furniture, Office Furniture, Stacks, Equipment and Signage)
  • Move-Planning Committee
  • Opening Ceremonies Committees

Building Data

Project Cost - $42 million


  • Area: 21,422 sq.m (more than 5 acres)
  • Number of levels: 6
  • Atrium: approximately 24 m high, 55 m long, and the width of a two-lane highway


  • Storage: approximately 50 km of shelving; 3,300 double-faced sections of fixed shelving and 630 double-faced sections of compact shelving
  • Seating for users: study carrels to seats 288; reading tables to seat 484; closed studies, index tables, seminar rooms and lounge seating the total capacity to 1,056
  • Equipment for users: 97 microcomputers, 635 voice-data outlets, 48 microform stations, 8 photocopiers; over 60 km of voice-data wiring
  • Future: will meet user and storage needs to year 2010


  • Stone: 285,000 pieces of cut and split-faced limestone from the Bruce Peninsula
  • Finials: aluminum
  • Windows: teak-faced mahogany (from ecologically managed forests)
  • Concrete: 11,000 cubic m, an amount similar to that in the base of the Statue of Liberty


  • Panelling: North American cherry
  • User furniture: cherry veneer and other materials consonant with the building's palette
  • Flooring: 10,033 sq m of carpet
  • Fireplace Reading Room: 3 gas fireplaces; Brazilian cherry floor (from ecologically managed forests)

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