About the SAU Library

The SAU Library is essential to the mission of St. Ambrose University.

The mission of the SAU Library is to select, organize, and maintain print and electronic resources that support the curriculum and information needs of our campus community. We contribute to the educational mission of St. Ambrose University by teaching library use and strategies for independent learning and providing an environment that encourages study, intellectual and cultural endeavors, and personal growth. It is our responsibility to be a positive influence in the Quad Cities and the global library community.

Library History

St. Ambrose College was established in 1882 by Bishop John McMullen. The first library collection was made up of books donated by the early priest faculty members.

The first Library was housed on the third floor of the center portion of the current Ambrose Hall. According to the 1903 catalog, the library held 4,000 books.

In 1927 the Library collection was moved to the Davis Hall basement until 1941. By then, the collection had grown to 15,000 volumes.

On October 24, 1941 a new Library/Administration building was dedicated in what is now McMullen Hall. In 1978-79 the administrative offices were moved to Ambrose Hall. From that point in time, the building housed Library services and a small computer lab until the Library moved to a new building in the spring of 1996.

On September 19,1982, during the centennial year of the college, the Library was rededicated and named in honor of Bishop John McMullen, the founder of the college. During the Library's 55 years in this building, the collection grew to about 115,000 books and 40,000 bound journals.

On March 18, 1996, the Library got its own building, a 58,000-square-foot, $8.5 million dollar facility incorporating the latest hi-tech capabilities. The Library has seating for 400 people, plus group and individual study rooms. The shelving capacity is 250,000 volumes.

On Sunday, October 6, 1996 the Library was dedicated by the current Bishop, William Franklin and named for retired Bishop Gerald F. O'Keefe. The keynote address was presented by Mary Dempsey, Library Commissioner for the Chicago Public Library. In August 2007, the Board of Directors voted to change the name of the Library to the St. Ambrose University Library.

History of SAU

Library Policies

The items listed below are a short summary of the Library's policies. For more complete details, consult a reference librarian.

Building Use

The Library was established to support the students, faculty, and staff of St. Ambrose University. Under established guidelines, adult community residents may also use the facility as long as that use does not negatively impact use by St. Ambrose students, faculty, and staff.

Youth under the age of 16 must be accompanied by a responsible adult.

The Library Administrative Assistant manages the Library Conference Room schedule, and it is primarily used for library-related meetings. Non-library use is limited to University-associated meetings.

Only St. Ambrose faculty, staff, and students may use individual or group study rooms.

Computer Use

The Library accepts and subscribes to the St. Ambrose University Network Policy and SAUNET Acceptable Use Policy. Library computers are primarily for finding information from research databases and the Internet, and for word processing and spreadsheet use. Viewing of pornography is prohibited.

St. Ambrose students, faculty, and staff have first rights to using the computers.

Misusing or vandalizing computers in any way is subject to penalties established by the campus network use agreement. If the person misusing or vandalizing the computers is not associated with SAU, campus security shall be notified immediately.

Computers on the first floor are networked to laser printers in the front and back areas. There is a shared printer on the north side of the balcony for the third floor computers. People not affiliated with St. Ambrose University may print at a cost of 5 cents per page. Papers not picked up within 24 hours will be recycled.

Library computers are turned off 15 minutes before closing the Library.

Interlibrary Loan

Interlibrary loan (ILL) services are available to St. Ambrose students, faculty, and staff only. ILL requests may be initiated with the help of a reference librarian, or be self-generated through the use of the online form.

In some instances there may be restrictions placed on borrowed materials (e.g. textbooks or fragile materials may be designated as "in-library use" only). If you have questions or need assistance requesting an item, please call the Reference Desk (563) 333-6245, or the ILL Department (563) 333-6247.

Circulation of Materials
  • Library materials may only be checked out by St. Ambrose students, faculty and staff. Residents of the state of Iowa may apply for a temporary card with proof of residency.
  • Reference materials are for in-library use only.
  • The Leisure Reading Collection and the entertainment DVD collection are for use by St. Ambrose students, faculty, and staff only. 
  • Newspapers, periodicals, and audio-visual materials are for in-library use only. 
  • Circulating materials may be checked out to students for one semester and to faculty for one year, subject to recall. 
  • The Library accepts and subscribes to the policy on Confidentiality of Library Records as outlined by the American Library Association and the Iowa Code, Chapter 22.7, Section 13.

Overdue and Lost/Damaged Fines

Books: 10 cents/day
DVDs: $1/day
Lost or Damaged Items: List price plus $10 processing fee


The Library gratefully accepts donations of books and other materials published within the last five years so long as the donor understands that the Library staff reserves the right to determine the usefulness of each item to our collection. The Library staff is free to add or dispose of the items as they deem appropriate.

The Library does NOT establish a value for items donated. The donor must establish a value for income tax purposes.

Library Map

Where can I find...

Lower Level
Center for Instructional Design & Technology
Information Technology Department
Information Literacy Classroom/Media Program Room
Individual study rooms
Media Services Department and IDEA Lab
Older periodicals and journals

First Floor
Circulation desk
Reference desk
Microfilm collection & scanner
Children's literature collection
Current periodicals and journals
Leisure reading collection
Entertainment DVD collection
Technical Services Department
Interlibrary Loan Department
Reference book collection
Faculty media collection
"New Books" shelf

Second Floor
Circulating book collection (A-L)
Student lounge
Vending machines
Quiet study area

Third Floor
Circulating book collection (M-Z)
Archives & Special Collections
Library conference room
Director's office
Group study rooms
Ambrose Room


Julia Salting, Interim Director

St. Ambrose University Library
518 W. Locust St.
Davenport, IA 52803
563-333-6246 Front Desk
563-333-6245 Reference Desk

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