Library History

The Bennett D. Katz Library at The University of Maine at Augusta was designed to serve as a centerpiece for learning support for UMA students. The original building was completed in 1974. A major addition in 1988 included new interactive television studios and the statewide ITV system control center, as well as a new wing of the library. The facility now also includes a state-of-the-art recording studio associated with UMA's premier jazz and contemporary music program.

In 1999, the library was officially dedicated and named in honor of Bennett D. Katz, a legislator, local businessman, and founding father of The University of Maine at Augusta. His contributions to the development of the University, while a state senator, Chair of the Joint Legislative Education Committee, and UM System Trustee, served as the basis for this decision.

The Katz Library collection focuses on the academic programs offered by UMA and has become a very effective tool for study and research for the UMA community. The collection is developed in concert with the UMA faculty. As a result, it represents the research and study needs of students and their academic programs.

UMA is a partner in URSUS, the shared online catalog of the University of Maine System. URSUS allows users to search and request materials from the collections of statewide campus and public libraries. In recent years, development of online databases and full-text electronic collections has enhanced UMA's ability to provide high quality online library services to UMA students on-campus and those taking distance courses.

The Katz Library houses the Maine Women's Hall of Fame, which comprises photographs and commendations recognizing Maine women whose accomplishments have had a significant statewide impact and who have improved the lives of women in Maine. Each March during Women's History Month, the Maine Women's Hall of Fame induction ceremony is held on the UMA campus. The Terry Plunkett Maine Writers Collection, also housed at the Katz Library, was dedicated shortly after Professor Plunkett's death in 1998.

The Katz Library building is noted for its scenic views and striking architecture, with angular rooflines and large expanses of windows providing natural light. The library provides display space for student and faculty artwork representing the outstanding UMA art program.

The library is located on the Augusta campus of UMA, just to the east of Jewett Hall, and is open evenings and weekends while classes are in session. UMA is a community library and open to the public.

Bennett D. Katz

Bennett D. Katz was born in Springfield, Massachusetts. He attended public school in Boston and received a B.A. from Tufts College. He was a pilot in the Army Air Corps during World War II and later flew for American Overseas Airlines.

He worked in the hotel and travel businesses before becoming president of Nicolson & Ryan Jewelers, a position he held from 1950 to 1988. His political career included serving as Chairman of the Augusta Republican Committee, Chairman of Maine's First Congressional District GOP Committee, Member of the Augusta City Council, Member of Maine's House of Representatives, Member of the Maine Senate, and Senate Majority Leader.

Bennett Katz was Member Emeritus of the Board of Maine Education Services and Nellie Mae, as well as Treasurer, Board member, and former Chairman of the New England Board of Higher Education. He served on the Augusta Board of Trade and was Chairman of the Augusta Airport Advisory Committee.

Bennett Katz received numerous awards, including an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Maine System. He lived in Augusta with his wife, Edith and passed away in November 2007.