Dedication of the E.Y. Berry Library May 3, 1973, with former U.S. Rep. E.Y. Berry, left and former South Dakota Governor Joe Foss at the podium.
 Students walking outside of the E.Y.Berry library shortly after it opened in 1972.
For four decades, the E.Y. Berry Library-Learning Center has provided thousands of Black Hills State University students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members with access to a wide range of material from government and historical documents to journals and books.

On April 18, the Library-Learning Center will celebrate its 40th anniversary with a reception featuring several speakers including BHSU President Kay Schallenkamp, Dr. Rod Custer, provost and vice president of Academic Affairs, and former library directors Dr. Ed Erickson and Dr. Rajeev Bukralia. The festivities start at 9 a.m. on the main floor of the library near the coffee shop.

Other events include:

  • An April 18 presentation by Charles Rambow titled “The KKK in the Black Hills: 1920.” The talk, hosted by the Leland D. Case Library, is at 3:30 p.m. in Jonas Hall, room 305.  Rambow began researching the KKK in the Black Hills after discovering his grandparents had been involved with the organization. He interviewed people who had experienced KKK activities in the 1920s for a paper for his master’s degree. He will share his information, exhibits and unique perspective of these little known activities.
  • National Library Week April 14-20. Included in the week of events is a One Book South Dakota discussion on Danielle Sosins’ novel “The Long Shining Waters.” The discussion is Wednesday, April 17 at 7 p.m. in Jacket Java, the library’s café.

In 1971, the Legislature approved $1.6 million to fund the new Library-Learning Center at BHSU.  That summer, the Lab School building and the water tower were removed to make way for the new Library-Learning Center.  Construction was completed in November 1972, and over Christmas break library staff moved into the new building.  In the spring of 1973 Black Hills State President Dr. M.N. Freeman realized his dream of a having a state-of-the-art library.

The library was named for former Representative E.Y. Berry who served in the United States Congress from 1951-1971. He had donated his papers from his time in office to the University.  Bob Lee, noted historian and president of the E.Y. Berry Historical and Educational Foundation, lauded the collection as a ‘gold mine’ of historical information. 

Since opening 40 years ago, the library has greatly expanded its collections and the services provided. Today, the Library-Learning Center houses more than 135,000 book volumes; subscribes to a variety of paper periodicals and online databases providing access to thousands of e-journal titles; maintains 750 archived paper journal titles; and includes more than 2,000 items in its media collection. The Library also includes a curriculum collection which houses K-12 teaching materials, many donated from local schools; a wide variety of reference materials; and the Case Library, which includes the University Archives, contains books, periodicals, maps, manuscripts and assorted materials specializing in the greater Black Hills regions.