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About the Libraries

McCabe Library exterior in spring


Swarthmore's libraries embody the reasons people choose Swarthmore: to engage in a community that values academic excellence, and an intellectual environment that encourages learning both in and outside of the classroom.

At Swarthmore, the vitality of campus life extends into our main library, McCabe (home to our humanities and social sciences collections) our two branch libraries Cornell Science Library and the Underhill Music and Dance Library, and collections in the Black Cultural Center and Beit Midrash.

Among the materials housed in the Rare Book Room are the Private Press Collection, representing the work of more than 750 presses, an exemplary collection of book arts and artists; the W.H. Auden Collection, and the Michener Collection, with most published editions of this Swarthmore alumnus.

McCabe Library also houses the College Archives, the Friends Historical Library and the Peace Collection, each an exceptional independent research collection.


The libraries' collections of over 1.5 million titles include nearly 10,000 journal subscriptions, 35,000 sound and video recordings and some 900,000 print holdings with about 10,000 volumes added each year. The libraries are members of the Federal Document Depository and Pennsylvania Depository Library programs. In order to support both faculty and student research, the libraries provide extensive services to connect scholars with resources including access to the holdings of libraries the world over through several interlibrary loan networks, unlimited access to the complete digital journal collections of several major publishers and most importantly shared collections with both Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges. The Tri-College Consortium of Bryn Mawr, Haverford and Swarthmore link their collections through a shared catalog, Tripod, which takes advantage of a long history of cooperation to work toward building a research-quality collection from their combined holdings.

Research & Instruction

The libraries are committed to insuring that students graduate with the ability to navigate an increasingly complex information ecosystem. The Research and Instruction Librarians, assisted by student Research and Instruction Associates (RIAs) work with their student peers and faculty who seek research guidance in person at the research and information desk, via email and chat, and by appointment. 

Digital Collections

Together with our consortial partners, Bryn Mawr and Haverford Colleges, the libraries maintain and continue to contribute to the Tri-College Libraries Digital Collections which hold digitized materials from our Special Collections, the College Archives, Friends Historical Library and the Peace Collection. Our Scholarly Communications Librarian also maintains Works, an institutional repository of faculty publications, presentations, exhibits and performances and our Digital Scholarship program through which we work with faculty and students to facilitate new forms of inquiry enabled by digital technologies.