New Entry Traffic Pattern for Leyburn Library

As one door closes, another one opens…or stays open, in this case.

To create a traffic pattern that supports the library’s Covid-19 protocols, all W&L users will now enter Leyburn Library only through the Stemmons Plaza entrance. This is the entrance that faces the back of the colonnade.

Leyburn's Stemmons Plaza entrance

Photo of Leyburn Library’s Stemmons Plaza facing entrance

Throughout the remainder of Fall Term, this will be the only available entrance to Leyburn Library. Users must swipe their W&L ID cards to enter the Stemmons Plaza doors.

Entry points on Leyburn’s Lower Levels 2 and 4, and the Elrod Commons facing entrance on the main floor, will be locked to prevent entry.

All Leyburn Library exit points will remain operational.

We apologize for any inconvenience and appreciate your understanding as we work together to create a safe and healthy campus community. We’re all in this together. For questions, email

*See map of Leyburn Library’s Main Floor *

LSO’s Favorite Books

Hispanic Heritage Month flyer


The Latinx Student Organization (LSO) has organized a variety of events, activities, and opportunities in celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from September 15 – October 15.

Part of this larger slate of offerings, LSO partnered with the University Library to curate a book collection: “LSO’s Favorite Books.” Many highlighted books are written by Spanish speaking or Latinx authors.

Browse the below list to learn which items LSO selected as their favorite books, and which member selected what title. Some titles were ordered specifically for LSO and are on their way to the library!

Want a book that hasn’t arrived yet or is currently checked out?
To receive notification when the book is available, do the following:

  • When you are on that book’s library catalog record,
    select “Please sign in to check if there are any request options.”
  • Login.
  • On the resulting screen, select “Request.”

David Gálvez’s Favorite:

Diana Rodriguez’s Favorites:

Jerónimo Reyes’s Favorite:

Taylor Graham’s Favorite:

Jackie Tamez’s Favorites:

Oriana Gutierrez’s Favorite:

Isabel Lourie’s Favorite:

Carolina Rubio Regalado’s Favorite:

Thank You, Dick Grefe!

Picture of Dick Grefe

Senior Reference Librarian and Associate Professor,
photo by K. Remington

This summer, the University Library says goodbye to three stellar employees: Sydney Bufkin, who completed her Mellon Digital Humanities Fellowship, and retirees Carol Blair and Dick Grefe.

Normally, we would celebrate our friends with a cake-filled fête. Because in-person celebrations aren’t possible due to Covid-19, we celebrate their contributions digitally…until we can safely gather together again.

In this post, we recognize Senior Reference Librarian and Associate Professor Dick Grefe. Dick joined the library on July 1, 1980. In his early days at W&L, Dick was responsible for Public Services (circulation and Interlibrary Loan) in addition to his role in reference. In 1989, Dick shifted to full-time in reference as the Senior Reference Librarian.

For the past 4 decades, Dick served as a well respected, and highly recognizable, member of the library faculty: providing detailed one-on-one research support, teaching credit-bearing courses, visiting classes to deliver course-specific research tutorials, coordinating the library’s government documents, substantially supporting Mock Con research needs, and so much more. Upon retirement, Dick served as library contact (or liaison) to a vast array of social science disciplines and interdisciplinary programs: Africana Studies; East Asian Studies; Education; Film Studies; Journalism and Mass Communications; Latin American and Caribbean Studies; Middle East and South Asia Studies;Politics; Poverty Studies; Sociology and Anthropology; Russian Area Studies; and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies.

Film Society 1983

Dick Grefe & the Film Society, The Calyx, 1983

Dick visibly supports and serves the university, and its students, outside of curricular confines. A champion of student sports, particularly soccer, Dick frequents the stands of Alston Parker Watt Field. For many years, Dick advised the student Film Society—as evident in the provided Film Society group photo from the 1983 Calyx.

One blog post cannot adequately capture Dick’s 4 decades of service to the library and university. Although verging on ineffable, we thank Dick for his vast contributions.

The following notes, from John Tombarge and Elizabeth Teaff, further highlight Dick’s impact.

Picture of John Tombarge

John Tombarge

A note from Dick’s long-time colleague, John Tombarge:

Over the years, Dick made a special effort to welcome prospective students to the library. It was Dick, too, who introduced most of the incoming class to the library each fall. He built much of the print collection and played an influential role as the library moved into the digital era, always paying close attention to new materials needed in specific classes and on the watch for popular research topics.

Always a strong advocate for our students, he is known for long meetings with students to help them with their research and regularly created individual research guides to help them get started. He is also known for his willingness to drop whatever he is working on to help students and faculty who show up at his office door. Dick also served as the faculty adviser to the Film Society for twenty-five years. A steadfast adviser for students preparing for Mock Con, he sought special funding to support their research every four years. He is also an avid supporter of all W&L athletics.

Over the years, Dick has served as a role model for librarians and their liaison responsibilities. As a reference librarian to reference librarians, he has always been a resource, talking through research strategies with other librarians working on problems or special projects. We offer our best wishes on a well-deserved retirement.

Picture of Elizabeth Teaff

Elizabeth Teaff

A note from Dick’s long-time colleague, Elizabeth Teaff:

Congratulations to Associate Professor Dick Grefe on his retirement. Over the course of many decades and two millennia, Dick has worked tirelessly to support the research needs of Washington and Lee faculty and students. His institutional knowledge and reference skills will be sorely missed. On a personal note, I have greatly benefited from all the guidance and support he has given me during my time at the University Library.

Dick served as primary library contact for various departments and programs. The following list identifies which individuals will now serve as the primary contact for those areas of research and study:

Thank you, Sydney Bufkin!

Picture of Sydney Bufkin

Professor Sydney Bufkin,
photo by K. Remington

This summer, the University Library says goodbye to three stellar employees: Sydney Bufkin, who completed her Mellon Digital Humanities Fellowship, and retirees Carol Blair and Dick Grefe.

Normally, we would celebrate our friends with a cake-filled fête. Because in-person celebrations aren’t possible due to Covid-19, we celebrate their contributions digitally…until we can safely gather together again.

In this post, we recognize Digital Humanities (DH) Fellow Sydney Bufkin. Since 2015, the University Library has hosted a Digital Humanities Fellow as part of our DH initiatives supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. For the past three years, we have been lucky enough to have Professor Sydney Bufkin in this role. Sydney was a familiar addition to the library. In her previous role in the English Department, Sydney regularly collaborated with librarians to bring information literacy skills to her classroom.

As DH Fellow, Sydney combined her pedagogical expertise with digital research methods to support faculty research and student projects—in and outside of the library. Within her first month, she was on the road to the Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship as a team member on Stephanie Sandberg’s Understanding Human Trafficking project. She worked closely with Emily Cook, research and outreach librarian, to develop a new library curriculum for working with the first-year Writing Program. Sydney also played an important role in the development and launch of the library’s Digital Culture and Information minor, serving as our in-house expert on assessment.

In addition to the day-to-day work of teaching, coding and consulting, Sydney led two major campus initiatives. In the 2018-2019, Sydney led the campus-wide initiative “Rewriting the Code,” a year-long initiative aimed at inspiring women at W&L to explore careers at the intersection of technology and the humanities. With the help of Kellie Harra ’18, our Mellon post-baccalaureate fellow, Sydney designed and organized two workshops on HTML, CSS, and Python. The demand for the workshops was so high, they were repeated in Winter Term. The initiative culminated in a forum featuring a full day of panels and presentations from six early-career women working in technology. Not only did this remarkable initiative bring together students, staff and faculty from across the university, it inspired a number of women to pursue the Digital Culture and Information minor and take more Computer Science courses.

Beginning in 2018, Sydney served as Institutional Lead for a multi-institutional grant from the Associated Colleges of the South, “Pathway to Diversity: Uncovering Our Collections,” to locate the history of desegregation and integration at W&L and three other ACS institutions in our archival collections. As part of this project, she supervised two summer research students and worked with faculty members to integrate primary sources into their courses. In 2019, the project received a second round of funding to create a shared online repository for the material. To highlight student contributions to the project, Sydney planned and hosted a multi-day “Curating Our Collections Institutional History Symposium” at W&L in late 2019.

Finally, we must acknowledge Sydney’s continual advocacy for non-tenure track faculty within the library and the entire university. Her willingness to speak up in any and every meeting brought needed attention to the employment conditions of contingent faculty. We are grateful for her dedicated work over the past three years to improve the lives of her students and colleagues.

*Written by Digital Humanities Librarian Mackenzie Brooks

Women Who Code Workshop

Professor Bufkin provides guidance during a “Rewriting the Code” workshop

Thank you, Carol Blair!

Picture of Carol Blair

Carol Blair, photo by K. Remington

This summer, the University Library says goodbye to three stellar employees: Sydney Bufkin, who completed her Mellon Digital Humanities Fellowship, and retirees Carol Blair and Dick Grefe.

Normally, we would celebrate our friends with a cake-filled fête. Because in-person celebrations aren’t possible due to Covid-19, we celebrate their contributions digitally…until we can safely gather together again.

In this post, we recognize Senior Library Assistant Carol Blair. Carol joined the W&L family in 1983 and worked in library acquisitions, a part of what is now called Collection Services, from the very beginning. During her tenure, she witnessed a transformation in library systems and processes: from multi-part order forms to today’s online purchasing systems. These technological innovations resulted in faster turnaround times for faculty requesting books. Books now arrive only days after order, as opposed to previous wait times of six weeks!

Animal Portraits

Animal Portraits by Carol Blair

Carol does much more than purchase books, media and serials. She processes donated gift books and is instrumental in the organization of our yearly library book sale, a favorite event for W&L community members and local Lexington patrons alike. She also helps manage aspects of the library budget, like the spending of endowed funds. Basically, Carol has been instrumental in library operations since 1983. Her varied tasks and duties cannot fit into one blog post.

Moving into retirement, Carol will have additional time to pursue her interests in art and golf. Carol graduated from UNC-Greensboro with a degree in Art and continues to produce artistic works—notably, highly realistic portraits of animals and golfscapes. She even flexed her artistic skills when winning the “Best in Show” prize at the library’s edible book event in 2016!

Thank you, Carol, for 37 years of service to the University Library! 

We look forward to seeing you out on the links, with a sketchbook or just enjoying life in Lexington!

A note from Carol’s long-time colleague, Senior Reference Librarian Dick Grefe:

Picture of Dick Grefe

Senior Reference Librarian Dick Grefe, photo by K. Remington

Carol’s retirement causes me to fear for the future.

Not so much the library’s future—we have anticipated this and planned for it and may be able to do a credible job of reassigning tasks and otherwise coping. Instead, I fear for the future of publishers and distributors with whom Carol has dealt over the years. 

For much of that span, these businesses have depended upon Carol to examine and correct their operations—their incorrect invoices, their statements sent to the wrong address, their failure to inform us of changes in their procedures and products, the occasional missing link, etc.  I wonder how CQ and National Journal and Sage and Oxford and Cambridge and several other companies can possibly manage to avoid total chaos without Carol’s intervention to save their corporate butts.

They, like W&L, will just have to get their houses in order.  And since they won’t think to say it, let me say it: Thank you, Carol, for keeping us and our relations with the academic publishing world humming along for all these years. Best wishes.—Dick Grefe


Library Databases for W&L Alumni

The Washington and Lee University Library is pleased to provide our alumni, including the Class of 2020, with access to several important commercially-published article databases, similar to those available to current W&L students, faculty, and staff.

Use of these resources is made possible by the generous financial support of the W&L Friends of the Library.



The databases available to our alumni include:

  • Project Muse
  • EbscoHost Databases — Academic Search and Business Sources



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.


Thanks to Our Student Workers!


Pandemic or no pandemic, this is the time of year when we start to miss our graduating seniors.

But we in the Washington and Lee University Library feel especially appreciative of one particular group of soon-to-graduate seniors — the students who have worked as members of the library staff in Leyburn Library and/or Telford Library.  These students have contributed significantly to the library’s service to the W&L community by working regular weekly hours, while, of course, continuing to juggle all the other aspects of a demanding campus life.  So many of the services our faculty and students enjoy are dependent upon the contributions of our student workers.

To honor their work, each year we invite our graduating student workers to identify a book which is especially meaningful to them, whether because of an emotional attachment, the subject matter, or other reasons.  We commemorate each student’s selection by acquiring a printed copy of the book, placing a dedicatory book plate inside the front cover, and then displaying all the selections as a group on the Main Floor of Leyburn Library.   We are indebted to our Access Services Supervisor, Laura Hewett, for overseeing all the work involved in this process.

This Class of 2020 celebration has not been stopped by the physical closing of the W&L campus, but it has prevented most people from actually seeing the books on display.  For the moment, the photograph below will have to suffice.  However, the physical display itself will remain in place at least through the summer, so we have hope that (physical) library visitors soon may be able to share in our recognition of our students.

Below is a list of our graduating student workers (arranged by library department) and the books purchased in their honor.  You can see more information about the chosen books by browsing this collection in the library’s Primo database.

Thank you to all these hard-working students.  We hope you are healthy and safe and that we can see you again sometime soon!


Access Services

Ryann Carpenter, A Lucky Child

Angela Delos Reyes, Encyclopedia of Philippine Folk Beliefs and Customs, Volume 1

Elyse Ferris, Murder on the Orient Express

Cassandra Grebas, Medical Pharmacology at a Glance

Connor Higgins, Catch 22

Jenna Kim, Being Mortal

Jiwon Kim, Eleanor Oliphant is Completely Fine

Robert Layton, In the Gardens of the Moon

Chase Major, The Outsider

Laurel Myers, Yes, Please

Prakriti Panthi, How Not to Be Wrong: The Power of Mathematical Thinking

Emily Roche, Bronte Transformations: The Cultural Disseminations of Jane Eyre and Wuthering Heights

Aimee Rodriguez, The Way of the Househusband, Volume 1

Anna Soroka, Love Earth Now

Collection Services

Kenneth Hartzfeld, Baseball Americana: Treasures from the Library of Congress

Research Help

Emma Rabuse, Declaration des Droits de la Femme et de la Citoyenne

Digital Humanities

Win Gustin, The American Civil War in the Shaping of British Democracy

Alice Chambers, The Art of Forgery: The Minds, Motives and Methods of Master Forgers

Makayla Lorick, Teaching My Mother How to Give Birth


Mock Convention Books and More


Washington and Lee University’s renowned Mock Convention officially begins in only a matter of hours and continues through Sunday.  (For more information, see the official website.)

A number of our guest speakers are the authors of published books and many of those volumes are available in W&L’s Leyburn Library.  To see what we have, check out this (partial) list of speakers:

The University Library also holds a treasure-trove of Mock Con historical materials — both print and multi-media — in its Special Collections holdings.  A significant number of items are accessible online in our Digital Archive, while much more is physically available in its original form within Leyburn’s Special Collections area.