Libraries and Media Services

Sweet Briar’s Mary Helen Cochran Library contains an outstanding liberal arts collection. All items are housed in open stacks and arranged for easy student access. The library is open 106 hours each week, 24 hours a day during exams. Reference librarians are available to help students organize their research efforts and to assist them with information needs. Bibliographic instruction to individuals and classes at scheduled times and by appointment help students gain the skills necessary to use effectively the vast information resources available. The library faculty also offers a series of non-credit courses in library instruction. The Basic Library Skills course is required of all incoming students. Library lab sessions are offered in conjunction with the courses for the writing requirement. Those students exempting from the requirement must take the course in stand-alone sessions. The resources of the Mary Helen Cochran Library are supplemented by those in two branch libraries: the Junius P. Fishburn Music Library in the Babcock Fine Arts Center and the Martin C. Shallenberger Library in the Pannell Center, which houses rare books and the College archives.

The rare book collection includes more than 5,000 volumes and thousands of manuscripts to support the curriculum. Of special note are the Virginia Woolf Collection, the W.H. Auden Collection, the George Meredith Collection, and the Evelyn Day Mullen T.E. Lawrence Collection.

The Fanny B. Fletcher Archives hold the records of the College. Students who take the course in historical research methods use these records as primary research materials.

The Sweet Briar College libraries are leaders in the use of advanced technology to improve the accessibility of information for students and faculty. A shared automated catalog, LION (Lynchburg Information Online Network), established in cooperation with Randolph College, the County of Amherst, and the City of Lynchburg Public Library, allows students to search and borrow items from their combined library holdings. Borrowed items are delivered to Sweet Briar. Access to the catalog is available to students in branch libraries and computer labs on campus and via personal computer in the residence halls.

The Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) system provides access to millions of titles in libraries throughout the United States, Canada, Mexico, Great Britain, and Europe. Online search services provide access to thou- sands of databases, indices, and abstracts, and offer full texts of information in hundreds of disciplines.

The John B. and Irene Vongehr Vincent ’40 collection features more than 4,000 books and ephemera in English on Chinese culture and history.

The Media Services Department provides training in simple video production and editing techniques, media equipment, and support to the College. Resources include video projection facilities, broadcast capability on the campus cable system, and interactive computer-driven multimedia workstations. The library also maintains extensive collections of audio and videotape programs, sound recordings, DVDs, and multi-media software.