Brief History of the University Library
The Bishop McCauley Memorial Library traces its humble beginnings to the early planning stages of the Catholic University of Eastern Africa. Sometime back in 1961, the Catholic Bishops of the Association of Member Episcopal Conference of Eastern Africa (AMECEA) discussed the possibility of establishing a Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA) which could articulate the needs of the nations within the region. In 1973, AMECEA accepted in principle Rome’s recommendations to set up a college to address the needs of African students in the AMECEA region. At this point, the idea of establishing a Catholic University in the region was suspended.
As the discussions were in progress, his Eminence Angelo Cardinal Rossi sent an official letter to the planners in 1980, confirming the approval for the establishment of two Institutes namely one in West Africa and the other one in East Africa. It was at this point that the AMECEA Bishops created structures and mandated them to begin planning for the Catholic Higher Institute of Eastern Africa (CHIEA). Rev. Dr. Paul Kalanda was appointed as the first Acting Rector.
As the planning structures continued with their work, it was realized that a library would be required to support the institute in its mission of addressing the needs of the region. A library fund was, therefore, created in 1980 with Fr. Victor Coulombe (S. J.) appointed as the first librarian. It is worth noting that the library had been conceived to be a joint library serving CHIEA and St. Thomas Aquinas Seminary, Nairobi. As a joint library, was officially opened on 23rd August 1983. Due to some administrative technicalities the concept of a joint library was dropped.
Relocation of the Library to the Ultra-modern Pope VI Learning Resource Centre (LRC)
The initial library was refurbished several times to accommodate the growing university community and collection of information resources. In its strategic development plan 2002-2011, the Catholic University of Eastern Africa University resolved to establish new physical facilities that will meet the needs of the university. In May 2008 the university started constructing an Ultra-Modern Learning Resource Centre. When completed, the LRC will consist of eight (8) components whose expected functions are as follows: University library, Information and Communications Technology offices (ICT), Language Laboratory/ Multimedia and Curriculum Centre, E-Publishing Centre, Cafeteria, University Bookshop, Archives, Electronic and virtual Museum, and an ultra-modern Conference Facility.
The broad aim of the CUEA Learning Resource Centre is to
...to deliver high quality learning resources to support the achievement of excellence in research, learning and teaching across the university as well as support the university in its community service within the East African region and beyond (The Catholic University of Eastern Africa, 2011).
From the ground-breaking ceremony on 27th February 2008 to its commissioning on 28th June 2011, this great idea transformed into an architectural marvel that is gradually changed the skyline of the university in a unique way. By September, 2012, the project had been completed. The Bishop McCauley Memorial Library was relocated to Pope Paul Learning Resource Centre in October 2012.