Most of the Library's 750,000 printed volumes are in the General Collection, which is arranged in Library of Congress Classification order throughout all floors of the building. Prior to 1982 we used the Dewey Decimal Classification system, and there is one section of older books that have not been converted: religion and theology (100s and 200's.) See building map. We also have several discrete collections of books, which are described below.
The Fooshee/Browsing Collection is a selection of current popular books designed to meet the community’s cultural and recreational reading needs. The collection was first established as a “Gentleman’s Reading Room” by Malcolm Fooshee in honor of his wife and daughter. Malcolm Fooshee was a graduate of the class of 1918. He was valedictorian of his class and editor of the Sewanee Purple. He also served as a trustee of the University, and established a scholarship program on which the Wilkins Scholarships are patterned.
The books in the Fooshee/Browsing Collection are arranged alphabetically in these categories:
|Biography||Current and popular biography|
|Crafts||Books on hand crafts such as knitting beadwork, weaving, pottery|
|Fiction||Current popular fiction|
|Health||Popular physical and mental health|
|How-To||Popular How-to books such as home repair, home addition projects, furniture building|
|Large Print||Large Print books in a variety of subjects|
|Mystery||Current popular mysteries|
|Non-Fiction||Current popular non-fiction that doesn't fit in the other categories|
|Nature||Nature guides such as bird and animal books, photography books of animals, hiking guides|
|Regional||Travel guides, sightseeing books, and photography books from: Georgia, Tennessee, Alabama, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia|
|Science Fiction||Current popular Science Fiction|
|Sports||Sports, including coaching|
|Travel||Travel guides from places other than the Regional category|
Within each category the books are assigned a simplified call number based on the first three letters of the author’s name, e.g. Mystery Geo
This collection, located on the Main Floor of the Library, is designed to support the academic curriculum in the areas of teacher education, art, history, literature, anthropology, psychology, and other areas of study. It currently focuses on classic children’s literature from three distinct time periods, pre-1900, 1900-1960 and, 1960- present. The collection may also be used for enjoyment by the children in the Sewanee community.
The collection was established in 2001 by the children of Ann Swanson Jackson, wife of Dr. Harold P. Jackson of the class of 1942. The Jacksons gave over 100 acres of land to the University. Mrs. Jackson loved children’s literature and loved Sewanee.
The books are arranged in a simple call number scheme based on the first three letters of the author’s name, e.g. Children Bur
This area has been set aside to provide a study and resource area in education. The Center for Learning and Teaching houses materials purchased for the Center for Teaching, a faculty program to enhance teaching skills and methods, and for the minor in Education. The collection is a mixture of classic works in educational theory and method and works published within the last two decades. The scope of the collection includes textbooks, curriculum guides, and works about subjects such as teaching methods, learning styles, the use of technology in teaching, trends in education, classroom management, etc.
Dr. William S. Stoney, Jr., C'50 of Nashville, TN has given an endowment to purchase materials on the history of medicine so that prospective future medical doctors may being their education in the medical field by learning about the past. The collection includes Dr. Stoney's personal book collection as well as several books purchased from the fund and access to a database of full text articles about the history of medicine.
The Main Reference Collection consists primarily of non-circulating print materials that provide readily available information and are used by Reference Department staff members to assist in responding to information requests. Reference materials generally contain brief articles and factual data or provide information on the location and access of related in-depth resources. Reference materials include, but are not limited to, encyclopedias, dictionaries, bibliographies, indexes and abstracts, handbooks, directories, atlases, and statistical resources. The main language of the collection is English, with the exception of dictionaries and encyclopedias for the principal languages taught in the College and used within the community. Most of the General Reference Collection is located on the Main Floor, except for the Music related titles, which are shelved on the Second Floor near the Ralston Music Listening Area and the Art related titles which are shelved on the Third Floor near the N's.
Much of the Reference Collection is now available online through electronic databases and subscription services. In 2016, we did a thorough evaluation of the collection and replaced many of the print titles with online access.
Theology Reference Collection, located on the Third Floor of the Library, comprises those materials in theology and related disciplines which are deemed important to have readily available at all times, particularly (though not exclusively) for the faculty and students of the School of Theology. This collection also serves the needs of the College’s Department of Religion. This collection does not circulate and is located near the shelves that hold materials in Library of Congress Classification B-BX and Dewey Decimal Classification 100-299. Proximity to bibliographic tools in theology, both print and electronic, is also important to this collection’s distinctive character and location.
Special features of the collection include sets (classed together) of the principal biblical commentaries in English, official documents of the Episcopal Church and other members of the Anglican Communion, major texts in the history of theology, language dictionaries, and reference tools (dictionaries, encyclopedias, atlases, concordances, bibliographies, etc.) in religion and related fields.
In 1873, the United States Senate designated the Library to be a selective depository of United States government information, making it one of the earliest Federal Depository Libraries in the state of Tennessee. Jessie Ball duPont Library serves as the Federal Depository Library for the 4th Congressional District of Tennessee.
Currently, approximately 35% of the items offered through the Federal Depository Library Program are selected. Areas of emphasis in the collection include agriculture, forestry, census data, geology, the environment, foreign affairs, and congressional information and publications. Because of the early designation as a depository, the government information collection houses many historical documents.
Just as the collection has a significant historical component, it is also an excellent source for current information on several subjects. Strengths of the collection include agriculture, census, congressional information and publications, the environment, foreign countries and international relations, forestry, geology, statistical data, and trade. Much of this information is now being disseminated in electronic format, particularly via the Internet, and as always, can be found in the library catalog. Find out more about the collection on this page.
Although many of the Library's periodicals are now online, we still subscribe to over 1,300 print journals and newspapers. Periodicals in the Main Collection are arranged by Library of Congress classification, with the most recent issues displayed in the Wright Morrow Current Periodicals Reading Room on the Main Floor, and back issues shelved on the second floor. Periodicals in the Theology Collection are arranged by title and are on the third floor, with recent issues similarly displayed and separated from the back volumes. To find a particular periodical title, or to see what we subscribe to in a subject area, use the Journal Finder. The Journal Finder includes both print and electronic periodical titles.
The Physics Reading Room serves as a collection of readily available reference materials to be used by faculty and students in the classroom, for laboratory preparation, and for generation of ideas for student projects. In addition to books owned by the Library, there are physics textbooks, miscellaneous donations, and a very large collection of science-fiction novels, many donated by alumni. The location of the collection, in J. Albert Woods Laboratories, room 224, makes it a useful resource tool. Future acquisitions will include expansion of the current collection by adding additional reference materials and more general-interest introductory science texts.
The larger, public area of the Roy B. Davis Chemistry Reading Room, located in J. Albert Woods Laboratories, room 206, houses a selected collection of monographic and reference materials which the chemistry faculty wishes to have available for immediate access, often for use in labs.
The University Special Collections, located in the University Archives Building, contains rare books and collections of books that were compiled over time by authors and people important to Sewanee's history. More information is available from the University Archives and Special Collections Guide.