Benzinger Library

The Charles H. Benzinger Memorial Library was formally dedicated on May 22, 1955 and opened in May 1956. Benzinger Library was part of the University Library until the early 2000s, when it was decommissioned. It continues as an informal library and meeting space in East Quad. The library moved from the basement to the main floor (near the North University entrance nearest Willard) in the 1970s, and is currently south of that entrance in the remodeled building (2013).

The library is named for Charles Harry Benzinger, who graduated from U-M in Spring 1953 (B.S.) and was treasurer of the East Quad Council that proposed Operation Ransom, which called for the creation in the East Quad basement of a library, a council meeting room, a snack bar (the precursor of the Halfway Inn), soundproofing of music practice rooms, renovating the Camera Club’s darkroom, and three rooms to serve as headquarters for student radio station WCBN (Campus Broadcasting Network), which began broadcasting in 1952. Benzinger provided the project plan and much of the inspiration. Funding for the project came from East Quad student funds and private donors, apparently the rationale behind calling the project a “ransom.”

Benzinger played trombone in the U-M Concert Band and Symphonic Band. He died in a car accident in August 1954. From Escanaba, Michigan, he was president of his high school’s National Honor Society, and received awards for instrumental music and debate. He had at least one sibling, a brother, Robert. His parents attended the library’s dedication.

A poster with most of this information, plus a photo of Chuck with his parents outside of East Quad in 1953, is now hanging in Benzinger Library.