Libraries engage in partnership with new Institute for Liberal Arts

by Lucy Saxon

The Institute for Liberal Arts, established at Swarthmore last year, has a mandate from the College Strategic Plan to study and strengthen the liberal arts model of higher education even as our society meets overwhelming challenges. To quote the Strategic Plan, The accelerating rate of the production of information, a more pervasive […]

Devere Allen Lantern Slide Collection is online

No more war parade, Berlin, early 1930s

by Wendy E. Chmielewski

The Devere Allen Lantern Slide Collection is now part of the online Triptych collection. Devere Allen was a writer, editor, internationalist, and socialist who came of age in the 1920s. Connected with the Fellowship of Reconciliation and the War Resisters League, Allen edited […]

Would you like personalized library instruction?

by Pam Harris

Improve your library aptitude with instruction crafted just for you. Acquire new knowledge of your own design or from the list below. Email for an individual appointment and to get started.

Advanced search strategies: New Tripod In this tutorial, acquire critical information needed for using Tripod to find the information you […]

Is being friendly and courteous enough?

by Peggy Seiden and Lucy Saxon

This past spring, the Swarthmore College Libraries ran the LibQUAL+ survey for a second time. The survey was developed by the Association of Research Libraries and has been used by more than 1,000 institutions world-wide. It asks respondents to rate on a nine point scale their minimal, desired, and […]

The Book Arts Collection at McCabe Library


by Anne Garrison

Swarthmore College is home to a vibrant and continually growing collection of modern and contemporary artists’ books. The Book Arts and Private Press Collection is committed to the acquisition of fine printing and artist books, and strives to represent all aspects of the physical book including bookbinding, typography, letterpress and […]

How to use our scholarly ebook collections

by Lucy E. Saxon

The college libraries offer hundreds of thousands of ebooks. You can find them with a simple Tripod search, just like any other book. Most of our ebooks are through the EBL collection or the ebrary collection. EBL and ebrary books can be read online, where you can print, copy, or annotate […]

Library ebooks: Licensing and ownership

by Lucy E. Saxon

American libraries are currently facing an important challenge: to implement a system of lending ebooks that is simple for readers in the short term, in which libraries maintain enough control over their collections to serve our readers and institutions well in the long term. Many electronic library materials (including many ebooks) […]

Tripod merges two products

by Terry Heinrichs

Developing the new Tripod required a great deal of technical work using the skills of library staff from Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges.

“We’re at the forefront of academic libraries,” said Spencer Lamm, Swarthmore digital initiatives librarian, since “we are using a multi-channel approach that allows the researchers to customize the […]

Who replies to your suggestions?

by Lucy Saxon reference & instruction intern

Have you ever noticed the McCabe Suggestion Book? Have you ever read through it?  Have you ever wondered who responded?

In case you are new to the Suggestion Book, you can anonymously leave comments, suggestions, or requests. It’s at the Circulation Desk. I will write back and address […]

Dirty data can cause trouble in the new Tripod

by Barbara Weir

One of the advantages of a catalog discovery layer such as the new Tripod is the ability to narrow search results using filters or “facets,” which include the characteristics describing a resource such as the format, subject headings, publication date, etc.  However, the effectiveness of faceted browsing relies on descriptive data that […]

New Tripod expands search results

by Annette Newman

Library users now have a new place to start their searches. From a single point, Tripod searches for individual journal articles as well as the tri-college libraries’ collection of books, journal titles, multimedia materials, databases and more. There is no need to decide between searching for books or journal articles first – […]

Film and media studies faculty talk about interesting movies


Patty White: I saw Tree of Life by Terrence Malick – he’s one of the great auteurs of contemporary American cinema, but this is only his sixth film. It won the top prize at Cannes this year. There is much that is beautiful and moving in this film and it has really stayed with […]

Popular films at Swarthmore

by Linda Hunt

                              All-time top circulated films   Big Lebowski The Cook, the Thief, his Wife and her Lover Chocolat Amadeus Love’s a Bitch (Amores Perros) Love Actually Last Temptation of Christ The Godfather (original) Mulholland Drive Amelie (le Fabuleux destin d’Amelie Poulain)

                                Last year’s most circulated films Lion King Up Burn After […]

Milestones at the library

Holly Kinnamont ‘12 uncovered details of the library’s history from the librarian’s annual reports and set up a timeline display during the summer.

1935-1936: Librarian notes popularity of student senior theses for research and asks that they be cataloged. “Typewriting room” has six desks and one typewriter. 1936-1937: Rare and unusual items stored in […]

Print preservation: The library collection in shifting sands

by Peggy Seiden, College Librarian

In 1991, when Hurricane Bob roared up the eastern seaboard, the inhabitants of Cape Cod lost power for nearly a week. Twenty years later, when Irene promised to do the same, the prospect of losing our ability to cool and light our homes, cook, or watch television was daunting. But […]

Library offers films, streaming video, and viewing facilities

Spencer Jones '13 viewing a movie in the family room in McCabe Library.

by Pam Harris and Terry Heinrichs

From the Harry Potter movies to Human Planet to Orchestra 2001 in Russia, the TriCollege libraries have thousands of DVDs and VHS films that library patrons may borrow. The Swarthmore College Library owns almost 12,000 […]

Triceratops begins with two collections

by Spencer Lamm

The TriCollege libraries recently launched a fully redesigned installation of DSpace, the open source institutional repository application developed by MIT and Hewlett-Packard. Named Triceratops, the TriCollege DSpace instance will serve to preserve and provide access to a range of digital materials including: faculty and student publications and research; recordings of lectures, arts […]

Other libraries provide reference service in different ways

by Terry Heinrichs

Dickinson College Library removed its reference desk in 2007. Middlebury College doesn’t have one either. As academic libraries see a decrease in use of this traditional service, some are considering this change but are not quite ready to take the desk away. Moving the reference desk to a more visible spot near […]

Reference librarians are here for you!

By Donna Fournier

Imagine having a job description that includes helping anyone with any question on any topic. For example, just as I was completing the first sentence for this article, a student stopped by to ask if stink bugs did damage to wood. (Good news, the answer is no.) We librarians do our best […]