Mission & Values
Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library serves those seeking information and scholarship in areas important to the University of Tennessee’s Institute of Agriculture and the citizens of Tennessee. Pendergrass Library provides the highest quality to all users and offers instruction and equitable access to all information and resources within our collection. We value creativity, collegiality, expertise, and innovative thinking. Our users may expect:
- Collaborative responses from trained and skilled staff
- Confidentiality of all library transactions and records
- Courteous & timely service
- Knowledgeable, attentive, & non-judgmental fulfillment of requests
- Proactive approaches & creative solutions to problems & requests
- Respect for all questions & the best available answers
We are dedicated to improving the library’s collections and services. We strive to create a user-centric library maintained as a partnership between the library and its patrons.
The history of the University of Tennessee’s agriculture program and its dedicated library were first intertwined in the nineteenth century. Professor Hunter Nicholson, UT’s first professor of agriculture and horticulture, became the university’s librarian in 1877. Professor Nicholson was followed in his tenure as librarian by Professor Charles S. Plumb, then-chairman of agriculture, from 1888 to 1890. The years between the two men saw the creation of the first library for the School of Agriculture, Horticulture, and Botany in 1880, and the small library at the Agricultural Experiment Station grew to 2,500 volumes (about half of the university library’s entire collection) by the time Plumb accepted a position at the Indiana Experiment Station.
During the agricultural library’s earliest years, the library and its collection were organized as two separate libraries – an Experiment Station Library supported by federal funds and the Agriculture Library funded by UT. Both libraries were housed together and were made available to all faculty and students. The library was housed in old Morrill Hall, Science Hall, and new Morrill hall before being moved into Agriculture Hall (now Morgan Hall) in 1921. The University Library assumed operation of the Experiment Station collection during the move to Morgan Hall, but the collection was still kept separate from the College of Agriculture’s collection. The additional space in Morgan Hall encouraged the library to grow and include new equipment making it easier for students to use as a study space and readily accessible reference resource.
The latest location of the agriculture and veterinary medicine library is located in College of Veterinary Medicine building. The one-story library facility was constructed in 1974 and was later dedicated in honor of Professor Webster Pendergrass by UT's board of trustees. Pendergrass was a UT graduate with a doctorate from Harvard University. He achieved international acclaim for his work to increase global food production and is remembered at UT for his 43 years of distinguished service. Pendergrass' career included numerous positions – an extension county agent, an agronomy instructor, and an extension agronomist. After returning to the teaching faculty, Pendergrass contributed extensively in programs related to agriculture policy and administration. He joined UT's administration as dean of agriculture in 1957 (the first native Tennessean and alumnus to serve as dean) and retired as vice president for agriculture in 1979.
The Webster C. Pendergrass Agriculture and Veterinary Medicine Library continues to serve students, faculty, and the public community seeking information and scholarship about or relating to UT’s Institute of Agriculture. The library holds the majority of the UT library system’s collection for agriculture, environment sciences, natural sciences, food sciences, and veterinary medicine. Its collection includes more than 160,000 books, data sets, digital media, journals, microforms, and periodicals, and it is part of the United States’ government depository for Department of Agriculture publications and records. Pendergrass Library offers onsite and virtual access to its resources and maintains an active program of outreach and user services based upon the skills of its staff, librarians, and innovative technologies.
Smith, Horace C. “Chapter III: Buildings, Farms, Library and Other Facilities.” An Honored Calling: A History of the College of Agricultural Science and Natural Resources. Institute of Agriculture: Knoxville, TN (1999): 31.