Why Did We Close Special Collections?


The actual collections within the Washington and Lee University Library’s Special Collections department — rare books, documents, mixed media, and other materials — have grown substantially over the past five years and that trend shows no sign of slowing.   We need to take some steps to make better, more intelligent use of space, both for current use and for the future.

Thus, as part of one of the biggest capital projects in the history of Special Collections, this summer we are installing multiple sections of compact shelving in the vault, where the majority of our most valued materials are securely housed.   This will be the second addition of compact shelving to this area, the first occurring in August 2007.   These installations enable us to dramatically expand shelf-space, without the need to encroach upon further floor-space.   We also will take this opportunity to make electrical and lighting upgrades in the vault, as well as replacing existing doors into the Boatwright Reading Room and into the vault.

To make way for all this work, we need to move a lot of books and documents into temporary storage, an action which necessitates closing Special Collections, including the Boatwright Reading Room,  for up to two weeks.  Our plan calls for the area to be closed to the public from Monday 18 July through Friday 29 July.

These improvements have been long in coming, and are the result of a lengthy period of planning and discussion.   We are confident their implementation will enhance Special Collections services to researchers from W&L and elsewhere for years to come.

If you have any questions regarding this process, please contact Tom Camden, head of Special Collections and Archives.

Library Databases for W&L Alumni


As alumni of Washington and Lee University, our graduates continue to have online access to a select group of commercially-published article databases, each of which is part of the core of academic databases to which we subscribe for current undergraduate students and faculty.   Available databases include:

  • Project Muse
  • Academic Search Complete
  • Business Source Complete

Ongoing access to these resources is provided with funding from the University Library’s Friends of the Library group.

Links are located within the “Colonnade Connections” section of the W&L Alumni web site:

Very important:  These accounts are available only to W&L alumni, who need a Colonnade Connections account ID and password to get through the above page.