There were four different libraries on campus at the time of the battle. First there was the Pennsylvania College Library, or the Main college Library. In July of 1863, the Pennsylvania College Library was comprised of approximately 5,460 volumes covering a wide variety of subject matter. The Library was housed in the middle section of the second story (what we now call the 3rd floor), directly across from the chapel.
New titles were purchased for the library using the Library Fund, and the faculty meeting minutes from the College’s early years provide a detailed description of which books were purchased in the months leading up to the battle.
Resolved, That “Prof. Green’s Reply to Colenzo,” and “Edwards on the Will” be purchase for the College Library.
The Philomathaean and Phrenakosmian societies were created to intentionally rival one another. This rivalry was meant to “Stimulate the members to mutual intellectual and moral improvement.” (Briedenbaugh, 112). The societies used their libraries to intellectually arm themselves for their debates against each other. This caused the society libraries to grow to the point where they both rivaled the regular College Library in size as well as scope of subject matter.
The Society meeting rooms and libraries were located on the fourth floor of the College Edifice. As was the case with all of the rooms in the building, these rooms were quickly turned into makeshift hospital rooms during and after the battle.