A new Library had been high on the list of priorities for some time when notice of the W.L. Baillieu bequest of £100,000 was received in 1944, but the long building delays in the post-war years saw the value of the bequest diminished. Designed by J.F.D. Scarborough the building replaced several professor’s houses on a north-south axis parallel to Royal Parade; it was, like the new Wilson Hall, very much a building of the 1950s, rectangular and 'functional' with glass walls.
Opened in 1959 the Library was already grossly overcrowded by the middle of the next decade well before the second stage was completed in 1969, with a further extension by 1974.
The University’s considerable collection of rare books was significantly augmented by the presentation of 850 volumes and 50 paintings, drawings and prints by Dr John Orde Poynton, who for some yeas was Consulting Bibliographer to the Library, and other significant gifts were forthcoming, from Ian McLaren MP, Eugene Gorman, Dr Sophie Ducker and others.
In 1960, the University Archives was established under the direction of Frank Strahan to properly care for University records, and to collect for research purposes records of business, and, later, trade unions and the labour movement. The Archives was assimilated into the Library in 1986, and is linked administratively with Special Collections and the Grainger Museum within the Information Division.