In 2016, the Bonisteel Library celebrates 10 years in its new building. It serves the entire Interlochen community, and is home to both the Seabury Academic Library and the Fennell Music Library.
Interlochen's first Academic Library, 1962, in what is now the Liberal Arts rotunda.
The Music Library used to live in the basement of the Stone Hotel from 1958 to 2006. 48 years!
In 2005, construction began on the old Stone Recreation Building, transforming it into the Bonisteel Library.
Mr. Bonisteel was a trustee at Wayne State University, a regent of the University of Michigan, a member of the University Musical Society of Ann Arbor, and a trustee of Interlochen from 1956, serving as board chairman from 1966 until his death in 1972. It is home to the John and Charlene Seabury Academic Library (upstairs) and the Frederick and Elizabeth Ludwig Fennell Music Library (downstairs).
The origins of Bonisteel Library trace to the beginning of Interlochen, during its very first National Music Camp in 1928. As a summer camp for the arts, particularly music, NMC needed to supply enough sheet music for the 100+ campers who came to play in the north woods. The camp began with $6,000 worth of sheet music, (about $80K in today’s dollars), as well as 175 instruments under the care of a librarian, whose name has not been preserved.
By the following year, the first recorded librarian, Arthur Williams of Oberlin College, was in charge of 215 instruments on loan from several manufacturers, plus a half-dozen four-drawer file cabinets holding $20,000 worth of music. His assistant, George C. Wilson, returned many years later to be Interim President of Interlochen.
By 1933, the camp had grown enough to have a proper place for housing music, and a vault-like building was erected, with a concrete slab for a door. In 1940, the nearby wooden “broadcast building” was annexed for the sheet music effort, and these two buildings sufficed to house all of the camp’s music until the late 1950s. During World War II, the academic library had its origin in the College Library, which was housed in Apollo Hall.
In 1958, the Stone Hotel was renovated and the NMC music library took up residence in its basement, where the collection remained for the next few decades. Meanwhile, the Interlochen Arts Academy opened in 1962, and the library for the new high school was housed in the Liberal Arts rotunda. This was the first proper library on the campus, and served the needs of students and faculty for many years. The music library had grown along with the camp and academy, while the academic library collection was funded by gifts of the McGregor Fund of Detroit and the donations from many benefactors, in particular Marten ten Hoor, a member of the Interlochen national advisory council.
In 2005, the former Jessie V. Stone Recreation Building, a combination gymnasium and performance venue, was renovated to become the new home of the combined music and academic libraries. On May 6, 2006, the new Roscoe O. Bonisteel Library was formally dedicated. It is home to the John and Charlene Seabury Academic Library, the Frederick and Elizabeth Ludwig Fennell Music Library and the Greenleaf Collection of musical instruments.