Though the Old Chapel had served as UMass’s library since its construction 1885, it had become too small to suit the needs of a growing university. Named after Henry Hill Goodell, who was a professor of Modern Languages, the first college librarian, and the seventh president of Massachusetts Agricultural College, Goodell Library was specifically designed to house the university’s growing collection of books. In 1935, construction on the University’s new, larger library building was completed.
Goodell was placed directly across from the Old Chapel on Lincoln Avenue, a historic tree-lined street which no longer exists. It was also adjacent to a large open lawn, which was located where Bartlett Hall now stands. Made possible by the Emergency Public Works Administration, the construction of Goodell was funded by both the State and Federal governments. The library was built in the neoclassical style, with a colonial revival brick structure, traditional white columns, a two-story entry porch and arched first-floor windows.