The creation of academic libraries at the end of the nineteenth century was a fundamental element in the rapid growth of higher education in the United States. This was the period when college and university libraries began their transformation from book depositories into centers of information retrieval, access, and dissemination. Academic libraries, however, have seldom been studied on a statewide or regional basis. Using a state as the basis of investigation provides a suitable set of examples for comparative analysis and historical insight. North Carolina is a good illustration of academic library development because it was neither first nor last in this process of transformation. The state also enjoys a wealth of archival materials about academic libraries, which facilitates their examination against a scholarly background of local and national research.