Seven million volumes and counting

“The heart of a great university is its library, and that is particularly important at a place like UNC. Being the ‘University of the People’ means that we have an obligation to keep our library strong.” —Chancellor Carol L. Folt

That heart beats, in part, because of the generosity of the Hanes family. Since 1960, the John Wesley and Anna Hodgin Hanes Foundation has given every milestone millionth volume in the UNC Library collection. In 2014, Borden Hanes, the foundation’s chairman, presented Carolina with the seven millionth—a 1573 book of poems by Juan Latino, the first person of sub-Saharan African to publish a book of poems in a Western language.

As the millionths mount up, the tradition—which is believed to be unique among research libraries—has taken on a significance of its own, symbolizing an enduring belief in the power of the written word and the mission of the University.

“The genesis of this tradition dates back to 1929. My great uncle Fred Hanes was very interested in purchasing the volumes for the library. There’s been a real interest throughout the generations, and I fully intend that that interest will continue for generations to come,” said Borden Hanes.

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