The new campus formally opened in October of 1964. Richard Weigle describes the inaugural Friday night lecture by Dean Clarence (“Corky”) Kramer in the Great Hall as follows:
In his lecture the dean said that technique threatens to outstrip knowledge and that the scientist and layman have become estranged. But science and the liberal arts have a “common dedication for freedom.” Mutual distrust has arisen because science has become something of a “veiled” activity and has taken over, partly by default, the kind of authority once held by churches, courts, and universities. Kramer said that the liberal arts institution has both the ability and the duty to inquire where science encroaches on the political and social order. It must find a new common language to deal with the distrust.
Kramer discussed the role of the St. John’s Program in a nuclear age. He compared contemporary disorders to similar events in the history of the world and noted that works of literature and philosophy, influenced by historical events and movements, have applicability to the present day. He said that serious conversation must be restored to resolve modern problems and to re-establish communication among differing groups. The alternative would be a return to barbarism, a tendency to seek immediate remedies to conflicts by violence. Through serious dialogue, he said, human beings can accept their limitations and learn to reconcile their differences. He called serious dialogue our “way of saluting each other as humans,” and said that the role of the liberal arts is to fight against barbarism wherever civilization is in jeopardy. A lively question period followed the lecture, as is the St. John’s custom.
And so the Santa Fe campus was off and running. As for the library—with no dedicated building of its own yet, it was temporarily sited in the first-floor space of the student center, in what was intended to be (and is now) the location of the campus Bookstore.
But even this was not sufficient to store its relatively meager initial holdings, which soon began to spill over into unused spaces in other campus buildings, as this excerpt from the 1965-1966 Student Handbook already shows:
The college library has two locations. The Main Library, main floor of the Student Center, offers a variety of current periodicals and newspapers in addition to the book collection, indexes, and other reference works. Besides its book collection, the Music and Science Library, Room 127 of the Laboratory Building, includes musical scores, records, and tapes.
Library hours are Monday through Friday 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday and Wednesday 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., and Sunday 2 p.m. to 5 p.m….
Looking back in The Colonization of a College, Weigle states:
Efforts were made to fund a library building in 1966 and 1967. As early as 1965 my annual report to the Board stated that space had become a problem for the library. Temporary quarters in the future bookstore, a large basement room in the student center, and a laboratory and preparation room in the laboratory building were not sufficient to see the needs of the burgeoning collection. Thanks to Buddy Fogelson, detailed plans and specifications for the library building were ready to go out to bid, but a donor for the building was lacking. In February 1967 the Board authorized an application to the New Mexico State Commission under Title I of the Higher Education Facilities Act. The sum of $311,000 was sought for the library, conditional upon the College’s raising $622,000 in matching funds. The application was approved, but no matching funds were found to enable the College to claim the proffered grant. Pressure was brought to bear to release the Federal funds so that they could be made available to another institution. In the spring of 1968 the College accordingly surrendered its claim to the funds in the hope that they might be claimed again should matching funds become available. No assurances were given to the College on this score. Meanwhile, the collection had grown to exceed 15,000 books, phono-discs, phono-tapes, and musical scores. The main library still occupied space in the student center planned for the bookstore, but the mathematics, science, and music collections were moved to a new temporary home on the first floor of Calliope House in the women’s dormitory complex.
Elsewhere, Weigle writes:
Unfortunately, Buddy’s proposal for a library never materialized because it conflicted with the fundraising for the Western Consolidation Campaign.
That campaign was the first part of a larger and more encompassing campaign with a ten-year fundraising goal of $16,850,000 “to meet the building and endowment needs of the College on both its campuses.” The construction of a Santa Fe library building thus became bound up with this College-wide fundraising effort, to be completed in 1975. It is likely that, when that campaign was launched in 1965, no one ever imagined that it would take another 25 full years for this library building to actually come to fruition.