Three Far-Reaching Branches
By Eric Sean Weld
Neilson Library is a haven for researchers when it comes time to root out the obscure facts and accounts often required for a powerful dissertation. But inclusive and expansive as Smith's central library is, there are times when it's necessary to venture beyond its vaulted walls to obtain information -- times when a given detail is so specific to a field that it can only be found in one of the college's three well-stocked branch libraries.
If you need to look up the dielectric
strength, volume resistivity or thermal expansion of a polymer,
for example, you'd likely need to check in the collection of
engineering texts in Young
If you're looking for a musical recording
of work by Telemann or Puccini, or a choreography script by Martha
Graham, you might go to the Werner Josten Library in the Mendenhall
Center for the Performing Arts. Josten holds more than 50,000
sound recordings on LPs, CDs, and even a substantial collection
of old 78-rpm vinyl records, in addition to thousands of volumes
of plays, reference books, periodicals and musical scores.
And though the college's art library is temporarily located across Elm Street and up Round Hill Road in Clarke School for the Deaf's Alexander Graham Bell Hall, that's probably where you'd travel to find images of works by Bruegel, Caravaggio, van Eyck, those of fifth-century Greece or examples of early Islamic art.
The art library has 90,000 volumes in its collection. However, during the college's two-year renovation and expansion of the Fine Arts Center complex, the library's holdings have been split and stored in the temporary facility in Bell Hall and at a recently constructed facility on West Street. Every one of the library's items will remain accessible in the interim, emphasizes Art Librarian Barbara Polowy. While the facility will temporarily give up some study and shelving space, its services and staffing will continue at full strength, she says.
"It's a little labyrinthian in here," says Polowy of the temporary art library, a fully functional facility housed in several adjoining rooms in Bell Hall. "But we have tried to make sure it's comfortable for people who will spend half their [academic] careers here as art majors."
The art library, which was built in Hillyer Hall in 1969, has long been in need of expansion and renovation, she notes. When complete, the new library will be equipped with technologically enhanced workstations, where students will be able to plug in their computers, and will provide improved flood protection and better lighting. Perhaps most importantly, the new facility, scheduled for completion in 2002, will have the space to accommodate at least 15 years of growth, says Polowy.
That added space will likely assure that, along with the ever-growing collections of Young and Josten libraries, the new Hillyer Art Library collection will remain an indispensable research component in Smith's expansive library system.
is published by the Smith College Office of College Relations
for alumnae, staff, students and friends.
Copyright © 2000, Smith College. Portions of this publication may be reproduced with the permission of the Office
of College Relations, Garrison Hall, Smith College, Northampton, Massachusetts 01063. Last update: 9/27/2000.
Made with Macintosh