Dr. Gordon Gunter, Director of GCRL from 1955 to 1970, began the Library on September 1, 1955. The Board of Trustees named it in his honor on December 21, 1972. In its earliest form, the library resided in the Director’s office and consisted of books and reprints from Dr. Gunter’s personal collection. By the mid-1960s, a full-time GCRL staff member, Malcolm S. Ware managed the collection. Ware cultivated and pursued an active journal exchange program using the laboratory’s scientific journal founded by Gunter, Gulf Research Reports, significantly augmenting the growth of the serial holdings.
With the construction of the Caylor Building in 1971 and the addition in 1976, the library had a dedicated space with a work and study area for researchers and students, a three-story journal storage tower, and offices for library staff. Following Ware’s retirement in 1995, the library’s first MLIS degreed Head Librarian, Joyce M. Shaw, came aboard to lead the library. During her tenure, Gunter Library’s relationship was formalized with University Libraries (UL).