Pacific Campus Library Building
Located at 2395 Sacramento Street, the Health Sciences Library at the Pacific Campus became a designated historic landmark of the City of San Francisco on October 5, 1980.
The four-story classic revival building was designed by the San Francisco architect, and was completed in 1912 at a cost of $150,000. Its interior featured large brass and stained glass chandeliers, oak archways, Columbia marble, a four-story oval spiral staircase and three murals by the California artist Arthur F. Mathews.
The Library traces its origin back to 1906 when the directors of Cooper Medical College of San Francisco established a medical library with an endowment from Dr Levi Cooper Lane and a donation of $20,000. Cooper Medical College became part of Stanford University in 1908. The Lane Medical Library was dedicated on November 3, 1912.
Today, the Health Sciences Library at the Pacific Campus serve both California Pacific Medical Center and the University of the Pacific Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry.
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The Library Building
Built in the classical tradition preserved by the architectural education system of Paris, the Health Sciences Library has rich & imposing elevations with the dignified use of the Ionic style - a temple for books. It was built from local materials: Colusa sandstone, Columbia marble, local cement and steel from a San Francisco steelworks.
The smooth soft gray Colusa sandstone exterior is constructed on a steel frame with three horizontal divisions. The bottom layer has rustication (stacked stone blocks) with a plain cornice to separate it from the center level. The central main level is smooth, with Ionic pilasters with very shallow and subtle vertical flutes.
The windows are classic roman arches with simplified scrolled brackets as keystones. A cornice with rows of large and small dentils separates this level from the top.
Spiral staircase and mezzanine floor.
At the top level, the lines of the pilasters are continued with smaller versions separated by rectangular windows. A slate tile roof with copper filigree decorations tops off the building. The entry hall has a four-story oval spiral staircase with a wrought iron railing and Columbia marble steps.
The lobby and reading room feature smooth pilasters and coffered ceilings decorated with dentils, acanthus leaves, rosettes, and egg & dart borders picked out in gold. The tall Roman arched windows provide plenty of light. Handmade brass and stained glass chandeliers and other light fixtures add to the rich effect. The unique custom-designed shelving in dark green echoes the architecture with its row of arched details on the cornice and the rectangle & circle motifs on the shelf faces. The rest of the building houses six floors of stacks and a variety of smaller rooms for special collections and work areas.
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The Current Health Sciences Library
The building was vacated in 1959 when Stanford moved the School of Medicine to Palo Alto. The building was nearly vacant for 10 years, used for some PMC Auxiliary activities and as a storage faciity.
On October 8, 1970, the library was rededicated as the Pacific Medical Center Health Sciences Library -- the library for Pacific Medical Center and the University of the Pacfic, School of Dentistry. Dr Robert Burns, President of the Board of Trustees of Pacific Medical Center, and President of the University of the Pacific, paid tribute to "the group of physisicans and dentists to whom the building is now dedicated -- men who have played significant roles in the history and growth of Pacific Medical Center and University of the Pacific, School of Dentistry, formerly known as the College of Physicians and Surgeons."
In the 1970, there were extensive renovations of the facility, made possible by a Medical Library Resource Project grant, received in 1973 from the Nation Institutes of Health, and private funding.
Today, the Library is a hi-tech facility with access to electronic resources, current and historic print materials, and comfortable areas for individual and group study or conferencing.
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