Farley Library

Agnes Flood Walking Tour

Follow along with the walking tour and learn more by listening to the accompanying guided tour.


During Wilkes College’s early years, the library was housed on the third floor of Kirby Hall.
Students in the original library on the third floor of Kirby Hall.
Students in the original library on the third floor of Kirby Hall.

However, with growing collections and a need for a larger space, the new library was constructed with the assistance of almost 500 share plan donors and 1,565 other donors. The building cost $1,500,000 and was completed in Summer 1968 and dedicated in November of the same year.

The Board of Trustees named the library in honor of Wilkes’ first president, Eugene Shedden Farley. It has four special collections rooms dedicated to significant Wilkes community members such as Admiral Harold R. Stark, Eleanor Farley, attorney Gilbert Stuart McClintock, and a Polish room dedicated to the Polish immigrants in the area.

The Impact of Agnes

After Hurricane Agnes, the library sustained $1,396,000.00 in damages, including 58,000 volumes of serials, shelving, carpeting, basement furniture, and the entire treasure room of rare books, which were housed in the basement. The Sordoni construction company was hired to clean the basement, using a tractor that removed mud, damaged shelving, and all the destroyed book collections.

In the months and years after the flood, the library received numerous book donations from out of state libraries, companies, and alumni far and wide, accumulating over thousands of books to replenish their holdings. It has taken decades to bring Farley library’s monograph and serial collections up to present-day curriculum standards and this would not have been possible without the hard work and dedication of former librarians who worked at Farley Library and of our current Technical Services and Electronic Resources departments.

Darte Center before Hurricane Agnes
Before the Flood
Darte Center after Hurricane Agnes
After the Flood

View More Photos of the Hurricane Agnes Flood external website

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Support for the E.S. Farley Library at Wilkes University helps fund more historical projects such as Remembering Agnes..