1840

That same year as Harvard developed the card catalog, 1840,  the University of South Carolina opened the first separate academic library building. There had been university libraries before, but they were housed in multi-use buildings. The University of South Carolina Library is the oldest continually operated library building in the country. 

Read more about the history of the University of South Carolina Library.

See an online exhibit put together by the University of South Carolina Library on the university's 200th anniversary.

Harvard was a close second place contender in 1841. That library was so cold that library staff had to wear coats inside in order to accommodate a small furnace with fewer fire risks. It was replaced Library history Bluff Blog