The Mariam Coffin Canaday Library is the center of Bryn Mawr’s library system. Opened in 1970, it houses the College’s holdings in the humanities and the social sciences. The award-winning Rhys Carpenter Library, opened in 1997, is located in the M. Carey Thomas Library building and houses the collections in Archaeology, Classics, History of Art, and Growth and Structure of Cities. The Lois and Reginald Collier Science Library was dedicated in 1993 and brings together the collections for Mathematics and the sciences. The library collections of Haverford and Swarthmore Colleges, which complement and augment those of Bryn Mawr, are freely accessible to students.
Tripod (http://tripod.brynmawr.edu), the online public access catalog, provides information about the more than three million books, journals, videos, sound recordings, and other materials in the Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore College collections. A large percentage of the Tri-College holdings are in electronic form and accessible online. Bryn Mawr students have borrowing privileges at Haverford and Swarthmore. They may also have material transferred from either of the other two campuses for pickup or use at Bryn Mawr, usually in less than 24 hours. Through the Library’s home page (www.brynmawr.edu/library), students may connect to Tripod; explore more than 200 subject-specific research databases; and tap into other library services and resources such as reference services, research consultation, reserve readings, interlibrary loan, etc.
Bryn Mawr maintains extensive relationships with other major academic libraries both in the region and worldwide. Through the consortial EZ-Borrow system, students can borrow materials from more than 30 Pennsylvania-area academic libraries. Students may also request items in almost any language from libraries across North America through interlibrary loan.
Additional information about Bryn Mawr’s libraries and services may be accessed on the Web through the library home page at www.brynmawr.edu/library.
The Special Collections Department, based in Canaday Library, houses extensive holdings of art, artifacts, archival materials, rare books, and manuscripts, and these are available for use in classes and for individual research projects.
Bryn Mawr has developed an extraordinarily rich Rare Books and Manuscripts collection to support the research interests of students. The collection of late Medieval and Renaissance texts includes one of the country’s largest groups of books printed in the 15th century, as well as manuscript volumes and 16th-century printed books. Complementary to the rare books are collections of original letters, diaries and other unpublished documents. Bryn Mawr has important literary collections from the late 19th and 20th centuries, including papers relating to the women’s rights movement and the experiences of women, primarily Bryn Mawr graduates, working overseas in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.
The College Archives contains the historical records of Bryn Mawr, including letters of students and faculty members, and an extensive photographic collection that documents the social, intellectual, administrative, and personal aspects of campus activities and student life.
The Art and Artifacts collection includes objects of interest to students of anthropology, archaeology, the fine and decorative arts, geology, and related inter- and multi-disciplinary courses of study.
The Anthropology collections include objects from around the world, with the largest portion of these collections originating from North America, South America and Africa. These collections comprise numerous categories of objects: African and Oceanic works, Southwest pottery and Native American ritual, functional, and decorative objects, and Pre-Columbian ceramics and textiles from present-day Peru, among many others.
The Archaeology collections include an extensive group of Greek and Roman objects, especially vases, a selection of pre-classical antiquities, and objects from Egypt and the ancient Near East, many of which represent the scholarship of Bryn Mawr faculty from the beginnings of the college to the present day.
The Fine Art collections include important holdings of prints, drawings, photographs, paintings and sculpture. The painting collection of approximately 250 works is primarily composed of 19th- and 20th-century American and European works; highlights include John Singer Sargent’s 1899 portrait of Bryn Mawr President M. Carey Thomas. The print collection illustrates the history of Western printmaking from the 15th through the mid-20th centuries and includes Old Master prints, art prints, and examples of 19th-century book illustrations. The collection also includes Japanese ukiyo-e woodblock prints, works in a wide range of media by contemporary women artists, Chinese paintings and calligraphy, and early, modern, and contemporary photography.
Objects held in all of these collections are available to students for research and are also frequently used as teaching tools in the classroom and incorporated into exhibitions in libraries and other spaces across the campus.