Facade of O'Grady Library, with a focus on the book statue above the doorway.

The library is the heart of the university community.

"Designing a library is one of the grandest things you can do, perhaps because it is such an honored institution.  I would much rather design a library, … because a library reaches to the heart of the community" - Michael Graves 

The O’Grady Library building emerged from a decades-long community vision, a dream realized and sustained by the hard work, dedication, and contributions of so many.

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The O’Grady Library’s mission is to actively support the educational goals of Saint Martin’s University by providing instruction, services, resources, facilities, and technologies that facilitate access to information in order to foster inquiry, creativity, discovery, and the acquisition of knowledge.

Guiding principles

The O’Grady Library is a haven for intellectual freedom and academic exploration. The Library encourages faculty and student scholarship by supporting excellence in teaching, building collections to support the curriculum, and providing systems for the delivery of information. The Library faculty and staff provide skilled guidance in finding, using, and interpreting information to meet the needs of scholars in an environment of service inspired by the Benedictine tradition.

General information

  • Size: 43,000 square feet

  • Dedicated: March 30, 2001

  • Design architect: Michael Graves & Associates

  • Architect of record: SERA Architects

  • Contractor: Berschauer Phillips Construction Company

Collections (2016-2017)

  • Print books:  86,191 titles (94,252 volumes)

  • Electronic books (owned and licensed): 166,541 titles

  • Physical video and audio recordings: 1962 titles

  • Streaming videos (licensed): 38,663 titles

  • Print periodicals: 94 titles

  • Electronic periodicals: 47,915 titles

  • Archives: 130 linear feet

  • Available through Summit: over 9 million titles

Staff (Fall 2017)

Librarians: 4
Other staff: 3
Student workers: 27 (4.05 F.T.E.)

Orbis Cascade Alliance

The O’Grady Library extends its local collections and services through membership in the Orbis Cascade Alliance (Alliance), a consortium of public and private academic libraries in Washington, Oregon, and Idaho. Saint Martin’s faculty and students can borrow books and videos from the greater Summit collection, and have them delivered here by courier in a few days. Member libraries also collaborate in the licensing or purchasing of electronic journal packages, databases, and e-books. Most recently, Alliance members have moved to a single shared library system, enabling members to share costs and even centralize some work processes.

The library staff at Saint Martin’s actively contributes to these efforts, and this work raises the quality of local services, minimizes expenditures, and allows the O’Grady Library to leverage the expertise of the Alliance’s diverse membership. Through Alliance membership, the O’Grady Library serves and participates in the regional academic library community.

Timberland Regional Library

The Lacey branch sits just at the edge of campus, and all students are eligible to obtain a library card and use its resources. The O’Grady Library and the Timberland Regional Library are exploring ways to collaborate more closely to better serve Saint Martin’s University and the local community.

The O'Grady Library was designed by the internationally renowned and celebrated Michael Graves (1934 - 2015). Graves taught at Princeton for 40 years, and founded Michael Graves Architecture and Design in 1964.  He was arguably the foremost postmodernist architect, creating buildings known for their use of color, ornament, and often classical references, such as the columns on the facade of the O'Grady Library and at the top of its staircase. One of the most famous of his 350 plus designs is another Pacific Northwest structure, the Portland Building, which opened in 1982. Graves was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 1999, and the American Institute of Architects' gold medal in 2001.

Graves also designed over 2500 consumer products, including the 1980 whistling bird teapot for Alessi. He became a household name for his design collection at Target, the source of his signature clocks throughout the library.

In 2003 Graves became paralyzed from the waist down as a result of a spinal infection, and he then began designing specifically for accessibility: wheelchairs, bathroom handrails, and homes for the Wounded Warrior Project.  President Obama recognized Graves' contributions and commitment by appointing him to the  U.S. Access Board in 2013.

Thomas B. O'Grady

Photo of O'Grady Library

The O’Grady Library is named for the family of alumnus and benefactor Tom O’Grady. He and his wife, Kathleen, were the lead donors for the successful $10 million New Library Campaign in the late 1990s that funded construction of this building that is both the architectural highlight and the academic focus of the campus.

Tom O’Grady, a native of Chehalis, Washington, was a 1944 graduate of Saint Martin’s High School who attended Saint Martin’s College in 1945. He was awarded an honorary doctor of laws degree by the College in 1989 for his extraordinary generosity and leadership for the school, and in 1995 he received the Distinguished Alumni Award for service to Saint Martin’s.

When asked to provide Saint Martin’s administrators with a specific name for the facility before it opened, Tom and Kathleen chose not to use their names, but rather to have the name recognize his family. Commenting on that decision, Tom wrote: “I feel the O’Grady family, as a whole, has contributed to make possible the major gift we gave—not necessarily in money alone, but in the spirit and philosophy of life engendered in me through my mother, father, grandparents, aunts, uncles and in the blessings of my own progeny. Besides, I think the greatest gift of a library is the familial spirit of its environment.”

The entire Saint Martin’s community was deeply saddened when Tom died in March 2000 at age 73, with the library project well on its way to completion and just a year before its dedication. Then-President David Spangler, said, “Tom was a guardian angel for Saint Martin’s. His love of this place and appreciation for all that the Benedictine monks did to help him when he was young was evidenced by his creative and nurturing involvement in recent years. Tom had a vision that looked beyond our limited perception to what might be. His generous philanthropy was always more than a gift—it was an encouragement to try new things and to change our institution for the better. At all levels he met people, found their strengths and supported those attributes until something outstanding resulted.”

Tom O’Grady spent his entire career with a Fortune 500 firm based in Greenwich, Connecticut, rising to vice chairman before his retirement in 1991.

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