Eastern Oregon University

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About Pierce Library

About Pierce Library

The library is the intellectual heart of the college and the community. Pierce Library supports the institutional mission of Eastern Oregon University by providing materials and services for all members of the college community. It supports the regional mission of the college by providing materials and services in connection with institutional outreach programs, through cooperative participation in regional library networks, and by making its collections and services available to the people of eastern Oregon.

The library’s collection includes over 153,000 book volumes and 1,300 periodical titles, together with extensive holdings in maps, U.S. government publications, Oregon documents, audio-visuals, and microforms. This all adds up to over 660,000 items to help you with your information needs. In addition, Pierce Library participates in two union catalogs: the Sage Library System, a multi-type library system which is a combined catalog of academic, public, and school libraries in the 10 eastern-most counties of Oregon; and Summit, the Orbis Cascade Alliance of 39 academic libraries in Oregon and Washington.

Our Vision

We are committed to creating and maintaining a dynamic environment, focused on service and guided by the principles of intellectual freedom, that encourages access to the cultural, historical and intellectual achievements of humankind.

Our Mission

Pierce Library will provide varying levels of access to quality and current research materials and services for students and faculty of Eastern Oregon University, and persons in eastern Oregon, in a thorough and timely manner.

Annual Reports and Accomplishments


About Our Name

Cornelia Marvin Pierce, Oregon’s first state librarian, worked unceasingly for 24 years to promote and advance the state library services in general. She was born in Monticello, Iowa, December 26, 1873. Mrs. Pierce began her library career in 1894 as a reference librarian in the Armour Institute in Chicago. She came to Oregon in 1905 from Madison, Wisconsin, where she worked for six years with the Wisconsin library commission.

The Oregon State Library, as we now know it today, officially dates its existence from 1905 when the Oregon Library Commission was created by law, and Cornelia Marvin instituted many innovative programs, including the country’s first books-by-mail service. She inaugurated reference services for members of the Legislature, began pooled purchase of books for schools at “ten cents per child, ” recognized the need for training of Oregon librarians, sent out field workers to public libraries, giving special attention to the small libraries with untrained personnel, built up a collection of Oregon biography index, and began a system if Oregon documents depositories in local public libraries. Miss Marvin served as State Librarian until 1929.

In 1928, Cornelia married Governor Pierce, shortly after which she resigned as state librarian. In 1932 she went to Washington, D.C. and for several years she serves as secretary to her husband, who was elected a representative in congress from Oregon’s Second Congressional District. Following her husband’s tenure in congress, they returned to Salem. Mrs. Pierce passed away on Tuesday, February 12, 1957 at the age of 83.

Walter Marcus Pierce was born on May 30, 1861, near Morris, Illinois, to Charles M. and Charlotte L. (Clapp) Pierce. Pierce grew up in a Jacksonian Democrat farm home and journeyed west as a young man, settling in 1886 near Milton in northeastern Oregon. He married Clara R. Rudio in 1887, who died in childbirth in 1890. On September 3, 1893, he married Clara’s sister Laura, who bore him five children: Lloyd, Lucille, Helen, Edith and Lorraine; Laura Pierce died in March
1925. In December 1928, he married Cornelia Marvin, the first State of Oregon Librarian.

After serving as a teacher and Superintendent of Schools for Umatilla County from 1886 to 1890 and as County Clerk from 1890 to 1894, he returned to Illinois with his family to seek a law degree. In 1896 he receives a Bachelor of Laws degree from Northwestern University at Evanston. Returning to Oregon, he practiced law for 10
years in Pendleton; speculated in land; owned and operated the Grande Ronde Electric Company; and became one of the state’s best-known and most successful breeders of Hereford cattle.

In 1902 Pierce won election to a four-year term in the Oregon State Senate, winning
passage of a $6.00 per child state support for educational purposes and supporting the unsuccessful effort at prohibition. Defeated for reelection in 1906, Pierce helped organize the Oregon Farmers’ Union; became president of the State Taxpayers’ League; organized the Public Power League; and served on the Board of Regents of Oregon Agricultural College from 1905 to 1927.

Pierce won the governorship in 1922, He championed prohibition and a law banning alien land ownership, pressed for adoption of Oregon’s first income tax, liberal labor measures, prison reform, state-owned and operated hydro-electric projects and other progressive measures.

A loyal New Dealer, he was elected to Congress in 1932 and represented the Second District for the next five terms until his defeat in 1942 at age eighty-one. He retired near Salem, Oregon, and died on March 27, 1954.

For more information on the history of our name please read the Pierce Library Name Report completed in 1999.