The Stephen Cole Kleene Mathematics Library is the March Library of the Month! Located in Van Vleck Hall, and named after Professor Stephen Cole Kleene in 1999, the library holds thousands of resources covering the wide spectrum of mathematics.
Originally located in North Hall as the Math and Physics Library in the early twentieth century, the Library moved along with the Math Department to its current location with the construction of Van Vleck Hall in 1963. Van Vleck Hall houses numerous extensively used classrooms and offices. The proximity of the library to these spaces provides visitors immediate access the resources and study spaces they need!
Designed with the era’s view of student study and faculty research in mind, private carrels and expansive tables originally dominated the library’s spaces. As research and learning needs have evolved over the past half-century, the library has responded by incorporating new furniture, shelves, seating spaces, technology, and other resources that have dramatically changed the space. In essence, today’s Math Library looks very different than what a student would have seen in 1963. These transformations have also accommodated for the dynamic print collection, which continues to develop to this day.
Some of us have been led to believe that the mathematics discipline is very static. This could not be further from the truth! You only have to briefly scan the library’s shelves before finding contemporary books such as Unsolved Problems in Number Theory or The Riemann Hypothesis: The Greatest Unsolved Problem in Mathematics. Students and faculty at UW-Madison often explore, research, and analyze many of these fields within the discipline, which the library supports through their collections. In fact, research on both solving and discovering new mathematical problems is consistently being published and selected for the collection. According to Travis Warwick, the Director of the library, the print collection currently stands at around 80% of shelf capacity and is consistently growing! This rapid growth is partially attributed to the considerable use of print resources within the discipline as well as the library’s mission to collect for the past, present, and future of mathematics.
Both print and electronic collections encompass resources for all users, including faculty, graduate students, undergraduate students, and visiting scholars. The library provides access to popular and introductory resources, along with journals, textbooks, course reserves, solutions manuals, and in-depth resources for graduate and faculty research.
The library also holds very unique and interesting collections. Three collections worth stopping in for (along with the very friendly staff and beautiful spaces) are the Historical Textbook Collection, which contains fascinating books published from the eighteenth through twentieth centuries; the Army Mathematics Research Center Technical Summary Reports, consisting of a complete pre-print collection of reports beginning in 1957; and Walter Rudin’s Principles of Mathematical Analysis which has been translated into over twenty languages held at the library.
Staff and Services
The Math Library staff consists of the very friendly Director, Travis Warwick, Library Services Assistant Patrick Strabala, and five student assistants. This small staff does a great job of managing the collections as well as maintaining the library’s spaces. The library itself is truly a hidden treasure. Under a beautiful skylight and surrounded by plantings, it’s not hard to imagine why both the lower and upper floors are consistently and actively used.
Along with providing (very comfortable) seating spaces, computer workstations, and printing services, Travis Warwick provides math research assistance to students, faculty, and other scholars. The Math Library staff encourages visitors to come in, ask questions, study, and relax!
Want to Visit?
The Math Library is located in Room B224 of Van Vleck Hall, 480 Lincoln Drive. For more information, contact the library at (608) 262-3596 or by submitting an e-mail form!
(Psst, in case you didn’t notice, today is Pi Day!)