Bracken Library first opened its doors Sept. 9, 1975. It cost the university $14.9 million to build. Rachel Ellis, DN
Bracken Library: A history of transformation
Editor's note: In honor of the university's centennial year, The Daily News is counting down 100 days to the university's celebration Sept. 6 with 100 of Ball State's most famous traditions and figures. Check back each day to read about Cardinal history.
Home to the Naked Lady, thousands of books and both procrastinating and studious students, Bracken Library is a central location on Ball State’s campus.
The library is named after Alexander M. Bracken, who played a large role in the Muncie community as both a local attorney and member of the Board of Trustees for 21 years.
May 24, 1972, recognized the official groundbreaking of Bracken Library. However, the library’s current four floors of technology, books and artifacts was still years away.
Nearly three years later, Bracken Library was officially opened to the public. At the time, the Ball State News reported the project cost the university $14.9 million dollars.
While Ball State opened the doors to Bracken September 9, 1975, there was still a few incomplete fixtures. Additionally, students were provided with guided maps to the library as no location markers were displayed during its opening period.
The building of Bracken was plagued by many issues such as bad weather, union problems, carpenters’ strikes and an electrical fire.
Additionally, two construction workers were killed while building the structure. The Ball State News reported that one died after falling from the second floor into an open air duct while another suffered a heart attack.
Bracken Library has seen substantial change since its original opening in 1975. Now, when a person walks in they see central staircase in the middle of the first floor.
Accompanying the staircase is Forest Idyll, or as the students call it, the Naked Lady. The Naked Lady is a sculpted bronze statue that students and study groups commonly use as a meeting place.