Oberlin students have access to superior library resources in four distinct facilities. The recipient of a prestigious award for excellence in academic libraries, the Oberlin College Library has one of the largest and finest undergraduate collections in the nation.

A student studies in one of many designated quiet study areas of the main library. Photo credit: Tanya Rosen-Jones ’97

The main library, housed in Seely G. Mudd Center, remains busy with both academic and social activities. The structure and amenities of its Academic Commons encourages community and collaboration. In addition, three specialized libraries are devoted to art, music, and science. All four libraries offer strong collections, extensive electronic access to databases and journals, and excellent reference staff. 

Total holdings for the library system exceed 2.4 million items. In addition, the OhioLINK library and information consortium provides access to more than 48 million volumes from 89 institutions in Ohio.

Main Library, Mudd Center

Oberlin College Library is the primary location for materials in the humanities and social sciences. Part of the Seely G. Mudd Center, the main library also houses interdisciplinary and general interest works, archives and special collections, and the mathematics and computer science collections. Administrative offices and most library technical services are located here.

Discover the main library

Academic Commons

The Academic Commons on the main floor of Seely G. Mudd Center is a hub for sharing research and information. It's also the place to get computer support, and access technology, reference, and learning assistance. Its major features include 29 workstations (for individual or group study), printers, scanners, an electronic classroom, and multimedia stations with video editing.

Adding to its appeal as a gathering spot is Azariah’s Cafe, which sells coffees, pastries, and healthy snacks.

Visit Academic Commmons

Clarence Ward Art Library

A visual feast for those who love art and the creative process, the library has more than 100,000 books, exhibition catalogs, and bound periodicals, as well as about 250 journals. The collection includes architecture, painting, sculpture, prints and drawings, new media, photography, and the decorative arts. Materials on anthropology, archeology, and landscape architecture are also available here.

The library is on the top floor of the Allen Memorial Art Museum and named for Clarence Ward, museum director from 1917 to 1948.

Discover the art library

Conservatory Library

The music library is among the oldest and largest in any academic setting, with more than 270,000 items. Collections include sound recordings, musical scores, books, and periodical titles. These cover Western art music from all historical periods, complete editions of the works of major composers, as well as growing collections in the areas of women musicians and American, ethnic, contemporary, jazz, folk, and popular music.

The conservatory library’s Special Collections feature a vast musical spectrum including jazz and American music, plus photographs, instruments and more.

Students can access recordings in different media formats at any one of 43 listening carrels.

Visit the conservatory library

Science Library

Our spacious science library, housed in the Science Center, is devoted to astronomy, biochemistry, biology, botany, chemistry, geology, neuroscience, physics, and zoology. Also well represented are related subjects in agriculture, medicine, technology, science education, and history of science. The library has a printer, 15 iMacs, group study rooms, and study carrels.

Students and faculty have access to more than 109,000 volumes, 176 periodical titles, and numerous online scientific journals.

Explore the science library

College Archives

Almost everything you want to know about Oberlin, you can find in College Archives. Department-based and student research projects often involve use of College Archives. Its rich collection of original historical materials offers insight and documentation of Oberlin’s involvement in many of the significant social, religious, civil rights, and political movements of our time. Oberlin has been associated with such movements as antislavery, African Americans in higher education, coeducation, missions, women’s suffrage, temperance, diversity, and ecology and the environment.

Visit the archives in person on the fourth floor of the main library, or peruse its collections, holdings and finding guides online.

View College Archives