Library Databases for W&L Graduates


One of the benefits of a being a Washington and Lee student is having access to dozens of commercially-published databases which enable researchers to make use of many thousands of academic journals, newspapers and magazines, books, data sources and analyses, and other materials.

Alas, one of the basic rules of institutional subscriptions to such databases is that use is restricted to current students, faculty, and staff.    Thus, our graduating seniors lose access to nearly all of these resources as they transition from W&L students to W&L alumni.

The W&L University Library, through the financial support of our wonderful Friends of the Library group, is able to provide our alumni with ongoing access to a selection of important “article databases,” including:

  • Academic Search (Alumni Edition)
  • Business Source (Alumni Edition)
  • Project Muse

Access to these products is controlled through W&L’s  Office of Alumni Engagement as one their Colonnade Connections online options.  There are two basic steps to using these databases:

  1. First, set up your own Colonnade Connections login (ID and password) via this link:
  2. Once you are officially registered, use this link and your personal ID and password to gain access to the databases listed above:

W&L alumni who have questions about using these databases can contact the University Library via this general-purpose online form or one of the direct links to our staff.  If you have questions about the Colonnade Connections program, please contact Molly Myers, Assistant Director of Digital Communications for Alumni Engagement.


Summer Hours


Too soon we breast the tape and too late we realize the fun lay in the running.       Walt Kelly


Here are our hours of operation for Leyburn Library and Telford Science Library for the end of the 2018-19 academic year and summer 2019.

  • Monday 20 May through Friday 30 August — open 8:30 am to 5:30 pm / closed weekends
    • Thursday 4 July and Friday 5 July —  closed
  • Saturday 31 August 31 through Wednesday 4 September —  open 8:30 am to 8:00 pm
  • Thursday 5 September  —  open @ 7:30 am and resume 24/7 academic hours

Please remember that Lower Level 4 in Leyburn Library is scheduled to be closed from Monday 20 May through August.


[From wlulex on Instagram]



Summer access to Leyburn Library’s Lower Level 4

The Leyburn Library renovation project to construct CARPE begins this summer with the installation of compact shelving on Lower Level 4. During this period (May 20-August 2019), access to Leyburn Lower Level 4, and the books currently housed there, will be unavailable.

The library staff is dedicated to working with our users to make this process as easy as possible. Below is a list of important details concerning summer activities. Full access to the library collection should be restored before school starts in September. After the installation of compact shelving, study carrels, tables and other furnishings will be placed on Lower Level 4. For questions, please contact John Tombarge, the Hal F. and Barbra Buckner Higginbotham University Librarian.

Schedule of renovation

  • May 20, 2019: Lower Level 4 closes to all public access. The entry/exit doors on Lower Level 4 will be inaccessible throughout the summer months.
  • June and July 2019: Compact shelving on Lower Level 4 will be installed. This shelving will eventually house bound journals, government documents, and selected reference items.
  • August 2019: Leyburn Library’s collection will be physically shifted to account for the move of bound journals, government documents and selected reference works to Lower Level 4; i.e., call number groupings on specific floors may change to create an easily navigable collection.
  • Fall 2019: Part of Lower Level 2 will be closed for the construction of new offices for the library’s Collection Services department. These offices need to be relocated from Lower Level 1 as part of the CARPE renovation.
  • January 2020: Much of Lower Level 1 will be closed to construct CARPE, which is scheduled to open in January 2021. Special Collections & Archives will remain open and easily accessible during this time.

Thanks to Graduating Student Workers!


Some of the employees in Leyburn Library and Telford Library might look just a bit younger than the rest of us.   Those would be our student workers, who truly make it possible for the University Library to provide the resources and services which help define a Washington and Lee education.

Each spring we recognize the graduating seniors who have worked with us as student workers by purchasing a book of their choice, perhaps related to their major, their research, and/or their personal interest, and then placing a dedicatory bookplate in the front of the volume.  These books and their bookplates, along with a little information about each student, will be on display on the Main Floor of Leyburn Library through the week of Commencement.

We enthusiastically thank these young women and young men whose work and spirit have done so much to enhance the University Library.   We wish you the best of luck — and we will miss you!


Access Services

Allan Blenman – Supernatural & Philosophy: Metaphysics & Monsters …for Idjits

Austin Smith – On the Road

Brittany Smith – Milton and the Making of Paradise Lost

Soon Ho Kwon – The Courage to be Disliked

Courtney Jenkins- Lipscomb – Stealing From God

Alex Dolwick – Running Flow

Ford Gassaway – Frederick II:  A Medieval Emperor

Megan Doherty – Parkland: Birth of a Movement

Dianluca Carrilho-Malta – Crisis Cultures: The Rise of Finance in Mexico and Brazil

Yoko Koama – Kafka on the Shore


Access Services and Research Help

Hammad Ahmad – The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society


Research Help

Anukriti Shrestha – The Martian

Leila Lubin – So Much Reform, So Little Change

Katherine Cheng – A Walk Across America


Digital Humanities

Aiden Valente – The Spirit of the Liturgy

Jenny Bagger – American War Poetry

Patrick Rothfuss – The Name of the Wind

Katherine Dau – Vienna: Art and Architecture


Special Collections

Claude Miller – Skate the World

George Washington (Books) Still Hot


We are about twenty years into the 21st century and interest in George Washington shows no signs of flagging.

As of early April, the University Library of Washington and Lee University already has added to its collections five books on Washington published in 2019.  The links below take you to entries in the University Library’s Primo database.

Not enough?  Here is a link to Primo’s list of books and book-like items “about” Washington (as defined by the Library of Congress).


Revolutionary:  George Washington at War


Dear George, Dear Mary



Kurt Vonnegut and W&L


Early spring of 1969 was a time in America fraught with anxiety.  Richard Nixon recently had been inaugurated as President of the United States as the Vietnam War bled into another decade.  It had been almost exactly one year since Martin Luther King was assassinated.  It felt a bit like history was off the rails.

And then a novel appeared which gave new meaning to the idea of history becoming unhinged, while also giving an additional twist to William Faulkner’s declaration that the past is not past.

Kurt Vonnegut’s masterpiece Slaughterhouse Five was published in the early spring of 1969, almost exactly fifty years ago.   The New York Times‘ reviewer declared Vonnegut’s sixth novel “an extraordinary success.  It is a book we need to read, and to reread.”  The American Scholar compared the author to George Orwell.  And Washington and Lee’s own Tom Wolfe would go on to say, “I guess he’s the closest thing we had to a Voltaire.”   Appreciations commemorating the 50th anniversary of this masterpiece are beginning to appear now in early 2019, including an extraordinarily thoughtful essay in the New York Times by Kevin Powers.

Kurt Vonnegut came to Washington and Lee University in 2003, speaking in Lee Chapel on Tuesday 4 February.  As far as we can tell, the only account in the Ring Tum Phi was a captioned photograph on the first page of the 10 February 2003 issue, with the great man at a table in the Southern Inn.  The photo appears beneath the cryptic headline “Don’t Use Semicolons.”    A more contemplative account was contributed by then-University Photographer Patrick Hinely (’73) to the Alumni Magazine.

It is not always true that public presentations at W&L by eminent visitors are preserved for future appreciation, but we got lucky with Vonnegut’s 2003 talk.   Several of our librarians found a DVD recording in a box in Special Collections and others worked to “translate” that video into an Internet-friendly format.   Thus, it is thanks to Tom Camden, Seth McCormick, and Paula Kiser that we are able to present video of Kurt Vonnegut at W&L in 2003.   So it goes.



Another Book of the Week — Fraternity


One research topic of perpetual interest at Washington and Lee University is the Greek system — fraternities and sororities.

Best-selling author Alexandra Robbins recently contributed to the ever-growing collection of reliably controversial works on these groups with the publication of her book Fraternity: An Inside Look at a Year of College Boys Becoming Men (Dutton, 2019).   The book just arrived in our collection and the call number is included in its description in our Primo database.

Author Robbins describes her investigations which resulted in the book in an article in The Atlantic.



Book of the Week!


OK, let’s try this.  Let’s look at a book just added to the Washington and Lee University Library collection — something interesting and/or cool.  Or just surprising.

This week’s nominee is Really Cross Stitch;  For When You Just Want to Stab Something a Lot.

Acquisition of this book was inspired by this term’s Politics 295B course taught by Robin LeBlanc and Ron Fuchs entitled “The Material Culture of Protest.”

You can view information on the book in our Primo database — and if you get to the shelf quickly, maybe you can check it out.


Streaming Video for W&L


The Washington and Lee University Library has secured access through 31 October 2019 to over 30 films in streaming form from Swank Motion Pictures, with all films selected for their value in connection with undergraduate courses in the 2018-19 academic year.

All of these films are available to W&L students, faculty, and staff from both on-campus and off-campus locations, within the guidelines below.

We have not purchased these films, but only leased them through the end of next October. We will have the option to renew some or all, as well as add new selections.


On-Campus Access
You can view all the films from this link:
This page is accessible only to W&L on-campus users, as are the individual links to films.

Off-Campus and On-Campus Access
If you wish to view any of these films from off-campus, you have two options:

  1.   You can go to this page in the library’s Primo database to select films from our Swank Digital Campus roster:
  2.   You can search for an individual film in our Primo database, perhaps starting at the “Browse Search” option, using “Browse by Titles”:

Our licensing allows us to use these films in private or classroom settings, but not in “public” or campus-wide settings.   If you have questions, or have suggestions for future streaming acquisitions, please contact Senior Reference Library Dick Grefe.

Royal Land Grant Still Survives


This week marks 279 years since King George II issued a deed in 1739 granting more than 92,000 acres of land to Benjamin Borden in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia.  That land included what is now Lexington (and Washington and Lee University) and much of Rockbridge County.

The original royal document resides in the W&L University Library’s Special Collections and how it still survive is the subject of a fascinating recent essay by Tom Camden, our Head of Special Collections and Archives.   Take a look.