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Clara FritzscheThe Library of Notre Dame College was originally housed in what is now the College’s Admissions Office. Evidence of this can be seen in the dark oak shelves that line its walls. The original oak circulation desk is still located there. Groundbreaking for the Clara Fritzsche Library occurred on October 24, 1969. The building, designed by Ernest Payer of the architectural firm of Rowley, Payer, Huffman and Leithold, was dedicated in August 1971.  It is named after the mother of its principal benefactor, Paul Fritzsche, a one-time Notre Dame trustee and cookbook collector who donated the funds to build the new library. A picture of Clara Fritzsche now hangs behind the circulation desk of the library, along with a portrait of Sister Genevieve Baker, founder of the Book-A-Year Club and Head Librarian of the Notre Dame Library for fifty years, from 1928 to 1978. When the new library was built students led by Sister Leroy Finn, founder of the WECO program, formed a line from the old library to the new building and moved the books from one facility to the other in assembly line fashion until every last book was in its place.

The library’s collection has steadily grown over the years and now consists of over 95,000 volumes. In 1983 the library took its first steps towards technology by purchasing Gaylord’s TeleMARC software, which produced MARC-like records and catalog cards.  In 1988 the library installed its first computer for reference use, enabling patrons to search the catalog of the Cleveland Public Library and the catalogs of libraries worldwide through WorldCat. In 1990 the library installed Bibliofile, automated cataloging software that marked its first step towards an electronic catalog.

In 1995 the library received a grant from CAMLS to begin the retrospective conversion of its entire catalog to MARC record format and from the Dewy Decimal Classification to the Library of Congress Classification System commonly used by academic institutions. In 1997 the library purchased the Innovative Interfaces, Inc. automated library system to enable the transition from the traditional card catalog to an electronic online public access catalog (OPAC). In 1999 the circulation module was added. In that same year a grant from the Gund Foundation enabled the library to join OhioLINK, train NDC faculty and staff in the new technologies and design the library website.

In 2006 the library joined OCLC, enabling it to more efficiently handle the growing number of interlibrary loan requests through the use of its Resource Sharing module. In 2011 the library upgraded its status as an OCLC library by subscribing to OCLC Cataloging, enabling the library to display its complete holdings on WorldCat and lend items to other libraries, increasing awareness of our current and unique holdings among scholars and researchers the world over.

In 2002 a new computer room was created on the first floor of the library and is a popular place for students to congregate. In 2005 the entire second floor of the library was remodeled. The former audio-visual area was converted into a state-of-the-art forty-seat electronic classroom equipped with Smart Board technology and laptop computers for each student. The former Curriculum Library was moved to the first floor to make way for the College’s newly created Academic Support Center. The Media Lab was dismantled to create space for the offices of the College’s new nursing program. The Falcon Café also opened in October of that year in the space that formerly was the library’s first-floor lounge area. In spring of 2006 the garage area under the library was converted into a much-needed storage facility for the library. Those returning to the campus in fall 2008 were in for a surprise upon visiting the library. The second floor, newly renovated in spring and summer of 2005, was once again totally transformed. In order to accommodate the College’s burgeoning enrollment and acute need for additional classroom space, six classrooms were created on the second floor, with one of these rooms also serving as a 20-seat computer lab when not scheduled for classes.

The library has also seen many changes in facilities that parallel its technological evolution. The year 1997 marked the dedication of the Tolerance Resource Center, located on the second floor of the library. In that same year the Book-A-Year Club Gallery was created from an underutilized space using proceeds from the library book sale for the renovation. It has since been the site of 28 art exhibits ranging from sculpture to photography, calligraphy to portraiture. In 1999 the Eastern Church Resource Center was dedicated, replacing the former Baker Exhibit Room, which formerly housed the campus archives, now located on the Ground Floor of the Administration Building. In 2008 the growing Tolerance Resource Collection was moved into a larger space formerly occupied by the staff lounge and microfiche room. The space it formerly occupied was used for office space for the director of the College’s newly created Abrahamic Center as well as a second floor men’s restroom.

Head Librarians/Directors
Notre Dame College Library

Sister Genevieve Baker 1928-1975
Victoria Freulich 1975-1978
Anita Johnson 1978-1983
Josephine Poda 1983 –1986
Chris Tomer 1986-1989
Sandra Harris 1989-1992
Karen Zoller 1992-present

Clara Fritzsche Library Photos

Old Library in Administration Building
Old library in the Administration Building
where Office of Admissions is now, circa 1935
Old Library in Administration Building, Late 1930's
Old library, circa late 1930’s
Old Library in Administration Building, 1960's
Old library, circa 1960’s
Rendering of New Library, 1969
Architectural rendering of new library, 1969
Groundbreaking Ceremony Flyer, October 24, 1969
Flyer for the groundbreaking of the new library,
October 24, 1969
Groundbreaking Ceremony
Groundbreaking ceremony,
Sister Mary Genevieve Baker, S.N.D.
Groundbreaking Ceremony
Groundbreaking ceremony,
Sister Mary Genevieve Baker, S.N.D.
Groundbreaking Ceremony Invocation
Groundbreaking ceremony, invocation
Groundbreaking Ceremony
Groundbreaking ceremony
(From left) Bernard Muhle; William Adams II, president of the Cleveland Growth Association;
Sister Mary Luke Arntz, S.N.D., Notre Dame College President. The shovel was the one used for groundbreaking on all campus buildings.
Groundbreaking Ceremony Color Guard
Groundbreaking ceremony, color guard
Cake at Groundbreaking Ceremony
Cake at groundbreaking ceremony
Piledriver, 1969
Foreman's Trailer
Foreman’s Trailer, 1969
Excavation, 1969
Watercolor Painting of Construction Site, 1970 by Toni Fiderio '72
A view of the construction site from the
Administration Building, 1970.
This watercolor was done as part of
an art class project by Toni Fiderio ’72.
Foundation, Winter 1970
Foundation, winter 1970
Rose Ann Siemer, 1970
Rose Ann Siemer, 1970Rose Ann worked at the Notre Dame College Library for 41 years. Her father, August Siemer, was brought over from Germany to maintain the apple orchard located where the sports fields are today. They lived directly across Green Road from the library in a white farmhouse, a South Euclid landmark for many years.
Entrance of the New Library
Sister Mary Genevieve Baker near the entrance
of the new library
Sister Mary Genevieve Baker
Sister Mary Genevieve among the stacks
Sister Mary Genevieve Baker
Sister Mary Genevieve Baker, S.N.D.,
Head Librarian for 50 years