The present building named Forsyth Library was completed in 1967 at a cost of $1,192,321, with one-third of the funds supplied by the Federal Government. It enclosed 105,414 gross square feet with an unfinished basement, two floors and a structural capacity for a future third floor. The basement level of the building was finished at a cost of $384,000 in 1974.
The building is named for military leader General George A. Forsyth, who was stationed at old Fort Hays in the 1880s. This was in accordance with the custom of university president, President Lewis, in naming buildings for military figures associated with western history. The Fort Hays post was deactivated on April 7, 1889, and on August 21, 1889, it was officially abandoned, becoming the property of the Department of the Interior when Company D, 18th U.S. Infantry departed on November 8, 1889.
The library collection has been housed at various places through the years. At its inception in 1902, the library's 702 volume collection was housed in the old fort hospital building. The library collection was located in Picken Hall from 1904 to 1916. Then it was moved to what was called "The Gymnasium," now Martin Allen Hall. In 1918 it was moved back to Picken Hall, where it remained until 1926 when the first Forsyth Library building was completed. The collection had grown to 14,000 volumes by the time it was moved into the first Forsyth Library building, which is now McCartney Hall. The collection sustained major damage when a flood in May of 1951 inundated the campus and sixteen inches of water flooded the first floor of the library.