Hawthorne-Longfellow Library


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addition by Shepley Bulfinch Richardson and Abbott

The Hawthorne-Longfellow Library is named for two notable alumni of the class of 1825; their portraits are displayed in the entrance area. Longfellow returned to serve as a professor of modern languages and the College librarian several years after his graduation.

The Hawthorne-Longfellow Library

As you walk out the front door of the admissions office and go to the right along College Street, you will see Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, which is Bowdoin’s main library on campus. It is named in honor of Nathaniel Hawthorne and Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, both graduates of the class of 1825. The library's collections exceed 1,000,000 volumes and grows by about 14,000  each year, making it a huge library, especially for a school of our size. We subscribe to over 18,000 current print and electronic periodicals a year; this number includes newspapers, magazines, and scholarly journals. The catalog is online and students can access it from the library or from their individual rooms. The library has an active interlibrary loan program.  If, for whatever reason, a student cannot find a certain resource in our library, he/she can access the catalogs of both Bates and Colby, and receive any book within a day or two. If those libraries lack the resource, then the student can access Bowdoin’s interlibrary loan network, which can obtain virtually any book or article within two weeks. Located on the third floor of the library is the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, which contain memoirs and old books that have been donated to the school. It has several copies of The Scarlet Letter, as well as letters written by Nathaniel Hawthorne to his family when he was a Bowdoin student; Joshua Chamberlain’s Congressional medal of Honor; plus all of the issues of the Bowdoin Orient, which is the oldest continually published college weekly newspaper in the country. Everything in Special Collections is accessible to students. Two electronic classrooms are located on the lower level of the library—one for Macs and one for PCs, and students can check out laptops at the front desk to take advantage of the wireless Internet access available at the library and elsewhere on campus.

You can chat with a librarian and receive live research assistance through two services: a Web-based Live Help link and AOL's Instant Messenger.

The library is open until 1:30 a.m. on Sunday through Wednesday nights, midnight on Thursdays, and 11:00 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays. During final exams and reading period, the library stays open until 2:30 a.m. A librarian is on duty until 10:00 p.m. every night. There are also 600 desks within the library, offering students plenty of places to study.