Our Changing Library: Today’s featured digital object

Payson Library in 1982

If you’re a regular to Payson Library, the image to the right may seem at once familiar and oddly out of place. This is a semi-outdoor stairway that used to lead upstairs from the Pendleton Learning Center to the first floor of the library—a skylight opened overhead and a decorative screen separated the stairs from the first floor entrance just outside. There was no stairway here to the second floor, which at the time was home to university administration offices accessed directly by a footbridge to the parking lot.

An historic capital campaign in the mid-1980s—the Wave of Excellence Campaign—gave us the Charles B. Thornton Administrative Center, allowing Payson Library to reclaim its second floor amidst massive library-wide renovations. In 1987, Payson Library emerged greatly expanded with a new, distinctive northern (mountainside) entrance and an infrastructure better designed for the computer era. This is the Payson Library we know today.

Proposed design for Payson Library entryway

Now, nearly four decades after Pepperdine’s arrival in Malibu, we find ourselves in the midst of another ambitious capital campaign, the Campaign for Pepperdine. A portion of these funds is designated for the renovation of Payson Library based on the belief, as expressed by President Andy Benton, that “a university cannot rise higher than the quality of its libraries.” The goals for the campaign include a new Learning Commons, a Special Collections and Archive wing, and a new second floor entrance that connects the library to Mullin Town Square (above). The result will be a library reimagined as the new student union—a third space between the dorm and the classroom for students to study, collaborate, and socialize.

On the eve of this exciting transformation, we invite you to explore the Payson Library of days past. Click here to view a selection of photos from the University Archives Photograph Collection that capture Payson Library before the 1987 remodel. See if you can spot the differences.


Our Changing Library: Today’s featured digital object