Loyola / Notre Dame Library was founded in 1968 by Loyola University Maryland and Notre Dame of Maryland University. The Library serves as an integral part of the campuses by providing information services and resources to support the academic programs and educational concerns of the universities. The Library is a 501(c)3 organization; its board of directors includes representatives of the universities and six non-affiliate members.
The Library was designed by the architectural firm Meyer, Ayers & Saint. Henry A. Knott served as the general contractor and completed the building at a cost of $3 million. After seven years of planning and two years of building, on May 5, 1973 the Library opened its doors with holdings of 150,000 volumes. William Kirwan, the first director, presided over the May 12th dedication. When built, LNDL was a prime example of American Brutalist architecture. It won a joint architectural Merit Award from the American Institute of Architects and the American Library Association citing its “boldness, exciting massing, clarity of materials, strong functional plan and quality of library environment.”
Sister Ian Stewart was appointed the second director of the Library in 1974, a position she held for the next twenty-six years. Under Sister Ian’s leadership, the Library automated its card catalog and circulation system and joined the Maryland Interlibrary Consortium.
John McGinty became the third director in 2001. During his tenure, the Library expanded its digital capabilities and its physical space. In the summer of 2006, Hillier/RMJM was the architect of record for an extensive building renovation and expansion project. The renovations increased the size of the building to 125,000 square feet. Whiting-Turner completed construction in July 2008 at a cost of $20 million. The renovations increased natural light and added new study spaces, an auditorium, a screening room, and a digital media lab.
In 2008, both universities' archives were moved to a 4,000 square foot space created for the Archives & Special Collections so that the collections became more accessible to researchers. The permanent exhibition of the St. John’s Bible, made possible by the families of Nicholas B. Mangione and Julie Kline Rybczynski, was installed in 2010.
Barbara Preece became the Library’s fourth director in 2012. Under her leadership, the Library continued its transformation to an innovative learning center that adapts to users’ changing needs for physical space, information, and technology. The Library joined Eastern Academic Scholar's Trust (EAST) in 2015; EAST is a print initiative that guarantees access to 6 million volumes via Interlibrary Loan. In 2016, the Library became the first independent library to join the University System of Maryland and Affiliated Institutions consortium of 17 libraries within the University of Maryland system and thereby providing access to over 9 million items. Additional projects were completed including the Copyright Information Center, refurbishment of the Gallery and Cybercafe, creation of The Collaboratory at the Library, an active learning space. The Makerspace, launched in 2017, facilitates creation, invention and learning through technology. Adaptive technology was also mainstreamed throughout the Library in 2017 to expand access for disabled users.
Katy O'Neill became the Library's fifth director in 2021 after serving the Library with distinction in various roles since 2012, including Associate Director of Research and Technology Services.
The Library actively assesses its services, space, and technology to anticipate and respond to users’ needs. LNDL continues to collaborate and innovate, partnering with the scholarly community to provide the most up-to-date services and resources to the universities.