Walter E. Helmke Library

2101 East Coliseum Boulevard
Fort Wayne, IN 46805

Walter E. Helmke Library creates a virtual and physical environment that supports the IPFW community in efforts to discover and access vital information. Helmke Library provides high-quality information resources, expert information services, and innovative instruction fully integrated with the educational goals of IPFW. As members of the IPFW community, we collaborate within and outside the university to increase information literacy and student success. We value equity of access to and ethical use of information, respect for the privacy of library users, and intellectual freedom. Helmke Library is dedicated to providing stewardship of the human record by collecting, describing, and organizing information. Employing technology wisely, the library offers responsive delivery of resources, customized research consultation, and an environment that encourages independent exploration in the pursuit of academic excellence.

The history of the Walter E. Helmke Library is linked not only with the university but also with the community. Indiana University first offered classes in Fort Wayne in 1917. Purdue University, responding to manpower needs, established courses here during World War II. When Indiana University and Purdue University Fort Wayne moved to the site of the present campus in 1964, their separate libraries were merged into one collection that numbered 35,000 books and 600 periodical subscriptions. The staff consisted of two professional librarians, one full-time clerical assistant, and part-time student employees. IPFW's first library occupied the west second floor wing of Kettler Hall.

In 1969, the Indiana legislature appropriated funds for a new library building. Through the efforts of the Indiana-Purdue Foundation, an additional $1 million was raised in the community. These funds were used to add the fourth floor to the present library and to purchase books for graduate programs. In September 1972, the entire campus as well as local citizens moved the 100,000-volume collection from the old facility to the new library in a well-orchestrated Book Walk. Student organizations competed to move the most books.

The library was named in 1977 for Walter E. Helmke, prominent Fort Wayne attorney and active member of the I.U. Board of Trustees and the Indiana-Purdue Foundation.

In 1982, through the combined efforts of the campus and area community, a fund drive succeeded in raising nearly $1 million to establish an endowment for the Helmke Library. The interest from these funds is used to supplement the book and periodical budgets.

The recently completed Campaign for Helmke Library raised $1.5 million in the community to provide additional funds for books and materials and to establish computing facilities so essential to information retrieval in the 21st century.

In 1990, IUCAT Catalog, the Indiana University Libraries shared online catalog, was introduced at Helmke Library as part of a multi-million dollar statewide project. A new Web version of the catalog was implemented in 2001.

From the beginning, the library has been open to the public. In addition to serving the IPFW academic community, the library is often visited by high school students, by students from other colleges, and by professionals and others seeking information not available in local libraries. All Indiana residents are eligible for library cards.
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