Mission and History | University of Portland

Mission and History


The Clark Library serves the University of Portland community as a dynamic teaching library. The library accomplishes its mission through interactive instruction, by acquiring and organizing multi-format collections that support the curriculum, and by facilitating access to resources in the Clark Library and beyond.


Library building circa 1962In the early years, the University's library was housed in a succession of campus buildings until it found a home in Christie Hall in 1935. Although its basement location in Christie Hall was not ideal, it offered study space for students and room for the University's growing book collection. By the end of World War II, the library had outgrown Christie Hall, and users and supporters were clamoring for a new facility dedicated specifically as a library. In 1958, after a decade of planning and fundraising, the library opened its doors in its current location. In 1979, the Clark Library, then known as the Wilson W. Clark Memorial Library, was remodeled, expanded and rededicated.

Over the ensuing decades, the university's librarians initiated sweeping changes in research instruction, library collections, and information access to respond to an increasingly sophisticated and technology-based learning environment. Myriad changes in library services underscored the need for a library facility that supported modern learning styles and information expectations. To meet this need, the University undertook an extensive renovation of the Clark Library, enacting a vision that re-imagined the library as a shared intellectual commons. In the fall of 2013, the Clark Library re-opened its doors as a highly flexible, technology-rich facility that proactively supports UP students and faculty.

Library circa 2013The Clark Family has generously and repeatedly contributed to the library, and thanks to their support, the Clark Library continues to play a central role in the life of the University of Portland. By combining traditional resources with the latest information technologies and expert assistance, the library serves the students, faculty, and staff in their search for information and their pursuit of knowledge.