Home / Foster Business Library / About / Foster Library History

Foster Library History

The Foster Business Library opened on June 23, 1997. Since the library opened, it's had over 3 million library users and has become the fourth busiest library on the UW campus.


The project, which also included the Bank of America Executive Education Center and the Boeing Auditorium, was funded by a mix of private and public money. In late 1990, the University of Washington Business School received a gift of three million dollars from the Foster Foundation to fund a new business library named in honor of Albert O. and Evelyn W. Foster. Albert Foster graduated from the University of Washington Business School in 1928 and founded the investment banking firm of Foster & Marshall in 1938. Evelyn Foster graduated from the University of Washington in 1932. The Business School combined the Foster gift with two others and developed the concept for a new complex. Construction began in March 1995 and library was opened in June 1997.

Foster Business Library skylight



Foster Business Library entrance

The library is a modern, comfortable and functional space that supports the study and research needs of the Michael G. Foster School of Business.

Skylight from Bank of American Center

This 23,500 square foot below-garden facilities' most striking feature is an 80 foot long skylight that provides a canopy of natural light for the main study area. Carrels throughout the library provide an environment for quiet individual study, while group tables and study rooms provide spaces to collaborate on research, homework and group projects. The main floor of the library contains circulation and reference services, collections, library workstations, study tables and carrels.

Foster Business Library 1st floor

Overlooking the main floor is a mezzanine level with additional study seating, computers and eight group study rooms.

View from second floor

With the focus on team-based methods in the School of Business, the group study rooms have become a key resource for students who need to meet and discuss their projects.

Second floor, east end

The furniture and chairs are constructed of cherry-stained maple, and are heavy, solid, and very comfortable. The library features 260 study seats, and nearly every library table and carrel, as well as the study rooms, is wired for power and data. The library also offers wireless Internet access to students and visitors.

Foster Business Library 1st floor

The libraries' collection is includes 60,000 volumes, 6,400 U.S. and international annual reports from over 800 companies , along with access to numerous business databases and thousands of e-journals online. There are 42 Access + PCs (limited to UW students, faculty and staff) with Office, Web access, and DVD burners and 6 Public Research Workstations with access to library databases. B&W laser printing is available from all library workstations and there are 2 public copiers, printing and copying is paid for with your Husky Card. There also is one public scanner available for UW students, faculty and staff.

Seminar room

Reference Librarians are available in person most business hours for consultation and research related questions. Business librarians will consult with small groups of students on strategies and techniques for using library resources on team projects. The library also offers 24-hour online access to librarians via Chat, as well as 24-hours access to your library record, renewals, holds, paging and most library databases.