Filed Under Architecture

Hayden Library

A Lasting Legacy Lives On

Dedicated in 1966, the Charles Trumbull Hayden Library stands at the center of the Arizona State University Tempe campus. Presently under renovation, the Library's unique and changing architecture--including an underground entrance and lantern skylight protruding from the lawn--seeks to create a bridge between past and present on the campus.

Charles Trumbull Hayden was born in 1825 in Hartford County, Connecticut. After moving from Connecticut to Missouri, he began working with a freighting business and traveled to Arizona frequently. In 1870, Charles Hayden and his business associates laid claim to part of the Salt River, which resides in Yavapai County. This land would eventually become the community known as Hayden's Ferry, and in 1879, the community became the city of Tempe.

Throughout Charles Hayden's life, he remained a proponent of education, assisted in acquiring funds from external sources, and even donated personal funds to create the Tempe Normal School in 1885. The Tempe Normal School was renamed the Arizona State Teacher's College in 1928, and in 1958 the college was officially recognized as Arizona State University. Due to Charles Hayden's significant impact on the university and his continued endeavors in Arizona's educational funding and legislature, Arizona State University named the central library on campus after him.

Charles Hayden did not live long enough to see the library dedicated in his name. Still, his son, Senator Carl Hayden, was present. Senator Hayden joined 1,500 spectators packed onto Hayden Lawn on November 22, 1966. During the library dedication, Carl Hayden had the opportunity to speak about his father and the legacy he left behind at Arizona State University and the city of Tempe. He stated, "By these remarks, I'd softly indicate the manner of man my father was, and I am proud to be his son."

During the library's construction in the 1960s, the architects created an office for Carl Hayden, tucked away on the fifth floor. While he did not need this office during his tenure as a Senator, Carl was an avid student and used his office frequently for research. Today, the office has been turned into a museum to honor Hayden and his family. The most significant piece of living history in this space is his Senate desk, donated to Arizona State University by Congress in 1968. Other items in this museum are paintings of Carl, photographs, and some of the books that Hayden himself used.

Today the Hayden Library welcomes approximately 1.5 million visitors annually through the underground entrance. Many of these visitors are students of Arizona State University, seeking refuge in a quiet place to study or digging for course materials in the stacks. What many of these patrons may not know, however, is that the Hayden Library is more than just a space to hold books. In 2016, Hayden Library announced plans to renovate the library and bring it into the 21st century. Since many students have stopped using tangible books in favor of online databases, ASU is adopting a new method of digital curation. Another major project during the remodel is to realign the library's volume collections into student view, allowing for the 4.5 million books to be better utilized.

In 2018, a multi-year renovation of Hayden Library began, seeking to give the library a renewed sense of identity while also hearkening back to some of its original design elements.

edited 10/20/2022: js


Dedication Ceremony Source: Arizona State University Digital Repository, Hayden Library Dedication Collection, Date: November 22, 1966


Charles Trumbull Hayden Library Dedication Carl T. Hayden speaks at the dedication of the Charles Trumbull Hayden Library on November 22, 1966. Source: Arizona State University Digital Repository, Hayden Library Collection
The Inside of Hayden Library Tower Students studying at the newly dedicated Hayden Library in 1966. The library held over 600,000 volumes of books when it opened and today holds over 4.5 million. Source: Arizona State University Digital Repository, Hayden Library Collection Date: 1966
Carl Hayden at the Library Dedication Carl Hayden waits to speak at the dedication of the Charles Trumbull Hayden Library on November 22, 1966. Source: Arizona State University Digital Repository, Hayden Library Collection Date: November 22, 1966
Hayden Library The largest and most visited library facility within Arizona State University, Hayden Library receives over 1 million visitors per year. A redesign of the building in 2019 kept the familiar exterior design intact while creating a dynamic interior with expanded study space, high-tech classrooms, and research materials. Source: ASU Library Digital Repository Date: 1965


300 East Orange Mall, Tempe, AZ 85281

Kaitlin Eckenrode, “Hayden Library,” Salt River Stories, accessed December 5, 2023,