Alvera Lewandowski

Alvera Lewandowski

Published: 23 Sep 2023


Welcome to the fascinating world of Swem Library! Nestled in the heart of the College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia, Swem Library is a beacon of knowledge, innovation, and discovery. With its rich history and impressive collection, this iconic landmark continues to captivate students, researchers, and book lovers from all walks of life. In this article, we will uncover sixteen unbelievable facts about Swem Library that will leave you in awe of its importance and influence. From its architectural marvels to its renowned special collections, get ready to embark on a journey through the remarkable highlights of Swem Library’s legacy. So, grab a cup of coffee, settle into a comfortable chair, and prepare to be amazed by these unbelievable facts about Swem Library!

Table of Contents

The Swem Library is the central library at the College of William & Mary.

The Swem Library is a prominent landmark and the heart of academic life at the College of William & Mary, located in Williamsburg, Virginia. It serves as the main resource for students, faculty, and researchers, offering a vast collection of books, journals, digital resources, and other materials.

The Swem Library is home to over 2 million physical volumes.

With a collection of over 2 million books, the Swem Library boasts an extensive range of subjects and disciplines. From literature and history to science and politics, it provides a wealth of knowledge and resources for students and scholars alike.

The Swem Library houses valuable special collections.

Among its vast holdings, the Swem Library is known for its remarkable special collections. These collections include rare books, manuscripts, archives, maps, and other unique materials that offer a glimpse into the history and culture of the region.

The Swem Library features a state-of-the-art digital library.

Keeping up with the digital age, the Swem Library has embraced technology and digital resources. Its digital library provides access to a wide range of digitized materials, including historical documents, photographs, and audiovisual content.

The Swem Library offers extensive research assistance.

Whether students or faculty require guidance with their research projects, the Swem Library’s dedicated staff is always ready to help. Librarians and subject specialists provide expert guidance, helping to navigate the vast collection and find relevant resources.

The Swem Library offers quiet study spaces and collaborative areas.

The library provides a variety of study spaces to cater to different learning styles. Quiet study areas allow students to focus, while collaborative spaces encourage group work and discussions.

The Swem Library is home to the Charles W. and Marion M. Crandall Rare Books Room.

Named after two generous benefactors, the Charles W. and Marion M. Crandall Rare Books Room is a treasure within the Swem Library. It houses a remarkable collection of rare and valuable books, attracting scholars and bibliophiles from around the world.

The Swem Library offers access to interlibrary loan services.

Through interlibrary loan services, the Swem Library provides access to resources from other libraries across the country and even internationally. This allows students and faculty to request books and articles that may not be available in the library’s collection.

The Swem Library hosts regular events and exhibitions.

From author talks and panel discussions to art exhibitions and book fairs, the Swem Library offers a vibrant cultural and intellectual milieu. These events enrich the academic community and provide opportunities for engagement and learning.

The Swem Library has a dedicated preservation department.

Preservation is a priority at the Swem Library. The dedicated preservation department ensures that the library’s collection is properly cared for and preserved for future generations, employing techniques and strategies to prevent deterioration and extend the lifespan of materials.

The Swem Library offers online access to a vast array of databases.

Students, faculty, and researchers can access numerous databases through the Swem Library’s online portal. These databases cover a wide range of disciplines, providing valuable scholarly resources for academic pursuits.

The Swem Library is named after Earl Gregg Swem.

The library is named in honor of Earl Gregg Swem, who served as the College of William & Mary’s librarian from 1920 to Swem played a crucial role in expanding the library’s collection and establishing it as a center of academic excellence.

The Swem Library is an architectural gem.

Designed in a Collegiate Gothic style, the Swem Library is not only a hub for knowledge but also a visually impressive building. Its stunning architecture and grandeur enhance the overall campus aesthetic and provide an inspiring environment for learning.

The Swem Library has an extensive collection of digital archives.

Alongside its physical collections, the Swem Library houses a vast array of digital archives. These digital archives contain historical documents, photographs, oral histories, and other materials that offer valuable insights into the region’s past.

The Swem Library offers access to research guides and tutorials.

To assist students and faculty in their research endeavors, the Swem Library offers a wide range of research guides and tutorials. These resources serve as valuable tools for navigating the research process, finding scholarly sources, and mastering various research skills.

The Swem Library fosters a vibrant academic community.

Beyond being a repository of knowledge, the Swem Library serves as a hub for intellectual exchange and collaboration. It brings together students, faculty, and researchers, fostering a vibrant academic community that thrives on the pursuit of knowledge and discovery.


In conclusion, Swem Library is not just your average library. It is a treasure trove of knowledge and a hub for academic resources. With its stunning architecture, vast collection, and innovative features, Swem Library offers an exceptional learning experience to students and researchers alike. Whether you’re seeking a quiet place to study, access to specialized databases, or assistance from knowledgeable librarians, Swem Library has it all.

From its historical significance as the heart of William & Mary’s campus, to its modern amenities and services, Swem Library continues to evolve and adapt to meet the needs of its patrons. It truly is a remarkable institution that showcases the importance of libraries in the digital age.

So, if you ever find yourself on the campus of William & Mary, take some time to explore Swem Library. You won’t be disappointed by the wealth of information and resources it has to offer.


1. What are the operating hours of Swem Library?

The operating hours of Swem Library vary depending on the day of the week and the academic calendar. It is best to check their official website for the most up-to-date information.

2. Can I borrow books from Swem Library if I’m not a student or faculty member?

Yes, Swem Library offers borrowing privileges to members of the community who are not affiliated with the university. However, there may be certain restrictions and fees associated with borrowing privileges for non-university patrons.

3. Are the library’s resources accessible online?

Yes, Swem Library provides online access to a wide range of resources, including e-books, scholarly journals, and databases. These resources are available to students, faculty, and staff members with valid university credentials.

4. Can I reserve a study room in Swem Library?

Yes, Swem Library offers study rooms that can be reserved by students and faculty members. Reservations can be made online through their website or in person at the library’s circulation desk.

5. Are there any special collections or archives housed in Swem Library?

Yes, Swem Library is home to several special collections and archives, including the College of William & Mary Archives, the University Manuscripts Collection, and the Rare Books Collection. These collections house unique and historically significant materials that are available for research purposes.