Not Just a Building, but a Legacy

Wilson Library’s 50th anniversary connects us to the past

By: Esther Chan


On September 23, Wilson Library celebrated its 50th anniversary. In the light of this milestone, it would be easy to spout out a list of what makes Wilson worthy of celebration—its resources, collections, spaces, collaboration studios, the list goes on. However, the anniversary’s significance lies in the intangible, something that cannot be reduced to a grocery list squeezed onto a brochure.


While researching for this article, I stumbled across photographs of students from 1968. With those grim expressions and heads bent over desks, it was a mirror image to the students around me. Hunched over in the glaring artificial light of Wilson Collaboration Studio at 10 p.m., what struck me wasn’t the astounding knowledge of the resources available at my fingertips—no, what left me in awe was the realization that 50 years ago, another student sat in this building. Another stressed, confused about life, barely an adult, individual with books in hand, also exhaustedly plopped down at a desk in the name of higher education. The parallels teased my brain and made me wonder, “How many faces have these walls heard and seen? How many triumphs, tragedies, losses, gains have intersected in this very building?” It was a realization that this 50th anniversary wasn’t just celebrating a building’s age, but its legacy. 


Illustration by Bri de Danann

Illustration by Bri de Danann

With an open-house celebration on October 1, the library held events with games, snacks, button making, and more. An “Explore the Past Challenge” scavenger hunt led students and faculty down a timeline to 1968, including physical items from the year it all began. These celebratory events are evidence that for 50 years, Wilson library has been a valued institution. They are a testament to the fact that this library is now more than just an institution for loaning books. It is a sanctuary of academia, a gathering place for celebrations, a center for students to connect—it is a centerpiece for community. 

Wake Mag