September 27, 2010

Morris Library patio dedication set for Oct. 8

by Christi Mathis

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- Southern Illinois University Carbondale’s Morris Library will host a ceremony dedicating a scenic new patio featuring historical elements at 4 p.m. on Oct. 8. Campus and community members are welcome to attend.

The patio, on the southeast side of the library, includes benches, tables and commemorative bricks. Individuals, families, businesses and corporations have donated to the project. Privately underwritten, the patio features a winding brick pathway that includes more than 200 commemorative bricks, each etched with the sponsor’s name.

The patio concept is the result of focus group meetings of library staff in 2006 to evaluate options for enhancing the library and grounds. The stone and brick design incorporates stone architectural elements from the historic Old Main building, saved after fire destroyed the building in 1969. The cornerstone of the old Normal building, the first building on campus, is on the patio. Although that building fell victim to fire in 1883, you can still read the date it was originally laid, May 17, 1870. The stone later became part of the Old Main building. The patio also features a star stone from that building and other historic stonework.

“It has been wonderful to see this patio bloom from a concept into reality. It’s gratifying to see these historic remnants and commemorative bricks come together to create a unique, comfortable space that brings people to the library,” said David Carlson, dean of Library Affairs.

The Friends of Morris Library led the efforts to fund the new patio and contributed $8,000 to kick off the fundraising.

“This patio is an ideal complement to the newly renovated library and it will further enhance the library’s role as the heart of our academic ventures,” said Rob Jensen, chair of the Friends of Morris Library patio committee.

The patio complements the extensive renovation of the basement through fifth floors, completed last year at Morris Library. Light refreshments and tours of the library will follow the dedication.

You can also view a short film about the patio project, complete with historic campus photos, at

For more information about the Morris Library patio, contact Kristine McGuire, library development officer, by e-mail at or by calling 618/453-1633.