The College Libraries

General Description

The Williams Libraries mission is to, “provide an intellectual forum where the world of ideas is made manifest to inspire learning, teaching, and creativity at Williams and beyond.” ( The Libraries have three facilities; the Sawyer Library that supports the humanities and social sciences, the Schow Science Library that supports the sciences and psychology, and the Library Storage Facility (LSF)  that houses important but less used print and archival materials. The Sawyer Library also includes Special Collections, which manages the College Archive, special collections, and the Chapin Library of rare books and manuscripts. While the Williams Libraries are primarily designed to serve the educational needs of students and faculty, the staff, collections, and services are also here to serve all college staff. 

To search our collection, for links to online resources, and further information about the Libraries, hours, services, and staff, see the Libraries website at

Borrowing and Accessing the Libraries’ Collections

The Williams College ID serves as the library card for faculty and staff. Spouses and dependent children are also granted library borrowing privileges and may obtain an ID through Campus Safety & Security. College employees may check out books and audiovisual materials (like DVD’s and music CD’s). Periodicals and reference materials must be used in the Libraries. All borrowers are responsible for those items checked out to them. Lost materials will be billed. For more information on borrowing policies and loan periods see 

To search for items — both in print and online — available through the Williams Libraries, use the discovery service at Online resources can be accessed from anywhere on campus and from off-campus. The Williams username and password serves to authenticate users. The libraries collection is very large and includes many formats, from ancient manuscripts to the latest streaming video. Librarians and staff are here to help. Do not hesitate to ask for help.

The Williams Libraries are open about 100 hours per week during the academic year with shorter hours during breaks, the summer and on College holidays. For details see

Borrowing from Other Libraries

Although the Williams Libraries have extensive and rich collections, they do not own everything. Staff and spouses can borrow materials from other libraries around the world using Interlibrary Loan. This service is available online, is free to staff and spouses, and there is no limit on the number of items you can request. Williams Libraries are a member of the Boston Library Consortium (BLC), which means that Williams staff have borrowing privileges in any BLC library. A list of BLC member Libraries can be found at This can be particularly helpful for staff commuting from elsewhere in New England.  Williams staff also have borrowing privileges at Williamstown’s Milne Public Library.