Library staff at the reference desk in Frost Library

In honor of National Library Workers Day on April 10, let’s take time to appreciate the people who keep Amherst’s libraries running.

In the past year, staff at Frost Library assisted with 67,000 checkouts by Amherst students, faculty and staff. They sent 37,000 items to Five College libraries and another 10,500 to libraries around the globe. They acquired and cataloged 10,767 new titles for the physical collections. On a typical day, borrowers held 26,000 items, including 465 DVDs.

Librarians serve as liaisons to academic departments But in addition to stocking and circulating materials, Amherst librarians are actively involved in instruction.

College librarians, in fact, taught 258 classes last year and were embedded in several research seminars. Amherst librarians also serve as liaisons to specific academic departments, and last year they conducted 170 research consultations with students. They worked with departments to teach thesis and capstone research workshops and peer-facilitated thesis-support sessions.

The library has staff devoted to digitizing aging archival holdings; last year they digitized 726 new objects, for a total of 14,450 pages—a project that has been stepped up in advance of the College’s 2021 bicentennial.

Digitization project

The Library doesn’t just collect and scan books and materials; it publishes new scholarly books through the Amherst College Press. This groundbreaking press, devoted to open-access digital publication, has seen its titles downloaded more than 3,160 times to date.

And when we said, “libraries,” we did mean libraries, plural. While Frost Library is certainly the hub of the College’s library activity, the campus is home to other branch and affiliate libraries.


The Music Library in Arms Music Center The Vincent Morgan Music Library

Located on the second floor of the Arms Music Center, this library contains books, journals, scores and recordings.


The Science Library The Keefe Science Library

In the Merrill Science building, it is home to monographs, recent periodicals and electronic resources supporting students in astronomy, biology, chemistry, geology, mathematics, neuroscience, physics and psychology.


Russian Center Librar The Center for Russian Culture

On the second floor of Webster Hall, the Center for Russian Culture holds a noncirculating collection of rare Russian books, manuscripts, newspapers and periodicals.


The Bunker Amherst College Depository

Located in an old military bunker five miles south of campus, the Amherst College Depository is a remote storage facility for College-owned materials. These tend to be older monographs and journals less frequently consulted but still readily available. The Bunker is also home to the Five College Library Depository, which houses lesser-used materials from the libraries of all of the Five Colleges.


The Folger Shakespeare Library Folger Shakespeare Library

And much farther off campus, in Washington, D.C., is the Folger Shakespeare Library. Henry Clay Folger graduated from Amherst in 1879 and left his library in the care of the College’s trustees when he died in 1930. Every year, Amherst students apply for Folger Shakespeare Library Fellowships, conducting a number of research projects in the library’s collection, the world's largest collection of materials relating to Shakespeare and his works, including printed books, manuscripts, prints, paintings and more.