The new Henry Madden Library is now 10 years old! When it was completed back in 2009, it instantly became a signature of the Fresno State campus. Here are ten reasons why the Henry Madden Library is one of a kind: 

An exterior view of the five story Eliptical Tower and the north facade of the Henry Madden Library.

  1. When people think of the Madden Library, what often sticks out in their mind is the unique characteristics of the Table Mountain Rancheria Tower. The building’s granite entryway, five story Elliptical Tower, and Grand Staircase were all inspired by Native American basket weaving. 

A close up of custom fabrics that were inspired by Native American basket patterns.

 2.  The Library was strategically designed to reflect the beautiful landscape of the    Central Valley and it’s rich Native American Heritage. The Library’s earth-tone color palette reflects the vibrant lichens found on the boulders at the Rancheria. In addition, custom fabrics were used for the upholstered lounge and upright chairs. These fabrics were inspired by Native American basket patterns and took about 18 months to develop. 

A statue of Jane Addams in the Peace Garden.

3.  The new Library was built with sustainability in mind. It was constructed with materials that were recovered from the old building. Many of the materials used such as the upholstery fabrics and carpet tiles, were made from recycled content or sustainable materials. Additionally, the Library’s use of natural light reduces the energy costs. These are just some of the many ways that Fresno State shows its commitment to sustainable construction.

An eleven panel glass mural of the Table Mountain Rancheria's history.

4.  The Library features many rare and timeless collections that showcase breathtaking natural landscapes, which are on display to the public. A collection tilted “Supergraphic” consists of both colorful and Sepia tone photographs of the Central Valley’s agricultural heritage. The Ansel Adams photographs beautifully capture images from Yosemite National Park and other National parks in Alaska and New Mexico. Amazing art can be also be found all around the Library such as a Centennial Steinway Piano in the Leon S. Peters Gallery. Other works include a printing press, Native American baskets, sculptures, photography, and framed artwork. On your next visit, take some time to enjoy this incredible artwork!

A MediaMesh video display of Lois Conner weaving a basket from start to finish.

5.  Many may notice the large moving image of a woman in red but may not know the story behind this installation. What they are witnessing is the world’s longest art performance, the first of its kind in the U.S. The 700 foot tall LED curtain displays Lois Conner, a North Fork Mono artist, weaving a basket from start to finish over the course of 12 months. The screen is made up of MediaMesh, a stainless steel woven mesh panel that displays a high resolution image while maintaining a transparent view into the Library’s interior.

A student searching for books in Henry Madden Library.

6.  As the Library of the future, it has bookshelves that move at the touch of a button! These moving bookshelves were installed to reduce book storage space and can hold more than 900,000 books. These shelves are the largest publicly accessed installation on one floor in all of North America. The Madden Library is constantly investing in newer technology for student success.

The Native Plant Garden just north of the Henry Madden Library entrance.

7.  Many beautiful gardens surround the exterior of the Henry Madden Library. These gardens include the Leo Politi Garden to the East, the Native Plant and Peace Gardens to the North, and the Rooftop Garden facing East on the fourth floor North wing. Each of these gardens has a different symbolic meaning that compliments the Library.

A student entering the Henry Madden Library on the first day of school.

8.  Even the granite blocks outside of the Henry Madden Library serve as an homage to nature. These blocks were quarried not far from the campus and stand at varying heights and distances from the entrance. This is to symbolize nature’s random distribution of boulders.

A group of students doing homework in the Madden Library.

9.  As the the heartbeat of campus, the Library is a place where Fresno State students spend a great amount of their time during their college careers. Students go to study, do homework, see a tutor, receive research help, or to unwind with friends. The Library is also is the location of many fascinating exhibits, events, keynote speakers and art shows.

Students oustide of the Henry Madden Library on the first day of school.

10.  The Madden Library is often visited by Fresno State students, staff, faculty, alumni, and community members annually. Since its opening, it has welcomed over 12 million visitors!

In honor of the Library’s 10 year anniversary, we hope you now have a deeper appreciation for the work that went into creating this beautiful building for all to enjoy!

Learn more about the Library’s 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Henry Madden Library remodel and North Wing expansion.

On top, a photo of the library's exterior. Below, the anniversary logo.