The 1958 construction of a new building brought the library into the modern age.
Classical shapes were streamlined. The Ionic columns of Hamilton Smith Hall were replaced with simpler, bolder designs. The library looked more toward the future than the past for its inspiration.
The nation and education were changing. The Soviet launch of Sputnik in 1957 preempted US plans for space exploration and focused the nation on science, technology, and international competition.