New library takes name of former governor

Former Minnesota Gov. Elmer L. Andersen’s name will grace the new library under construction on the West Bank near the Art Building.
University President Mark Yudof called Andersen “a touchstone of the people and culture of the state,” in announcing the library’s new name. The building, expected to be completed this fall, had been referred to as the Minnesota Library Access Center.
The Elmer L. Andersen Library will house many specialized library units, including the University Archives, the Immigration History Research Center, the Manuscripts Division and Special Collections and Rare Books.
Yudof made the announcement in an address to about 600 people gathered Saturday at the St. Paul Radisson Hotel for Andersen’s 90th birthday celebration.
Andersen, who graduated from the University in 1931, was Minnesota’s governor from 1961 to 1963. He was a Republican, but enjoyed broad bipartisan support. In recent years, he has supported several DFL candidates.
Andersen returned to the University in 1967, where he served as a regent until 1975, and later as trustee and president of the University of Minnesota Foundation. He now owns a group of weekly Minnesota newspapers.
Books were a constant in his life. “Nothing has been more joyful than book collecting,” he said.
Anderson donated his personal collection of 12,500 books, valued at about $800,000, to the University Library’s Special Collections and Rare Books in March.
The contribution was the largest private donation of books in University history.
The March donation surpassed the University’s previous record donation, also made by Andersen and his wife, Eleanor, to the Andersen Horticultural Library at the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, which was also named for the couple.

— Compiled from staff and wire reports.