Resources and Facilities

Bowdoin College Library

Bowdoin’s library—the intellectual heart of the College—provides a gateway to the world of information and ideas, helps students succeed academically, and supports teaching and research. In addition to notable print and manuscript collections, historically recognized as among Bowdoin’s hallmarks of excellence, the Library offers a wealth of electronic resources and instructional programs that enhance their use.

The Library’s website ( is the portal to the combined Colby, Bates, and Bowdoin library catalog (CBBcat), rich collections of electronic and print resources, and essential digital research and discovery tools. The Library’s collections, developed over a period of 200 years, exceed one million volumes and include more than 80,000 print and electronic periodicals, 450 online indexes and databases, as well as e-books, audiovisual items, maps, photographs, a growing repository of born-digital content, and over 5,600 linear feet of manuscripts and archival records.

Research librarians and faculty partner to encourage the use of scholarly resources in all disciplines and to teach students to identify, select, and evaluate information for course work and independent scholarship. Students receive information literacy instruction in their first-year seminars, and librarians provide personalized assistance in using library resources throughout the academic year.

Interlibrary loan and document delivery services allow students and faculty to request materials not held at Bowdoin; most journal articles are delivered electronically, and books arrive daily from Colby and Bates colleges and other libraries in New England and worldwide.

Library Locations and Collections

The Hawthorne-Longfellow Library, the main library building, houses humanities and social sciences materials, the George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives, and a depository of federal and Maine State documents. Hawthorne-Longfellow features an array of popular student study spaces, ranging from quiet individual carrels to technologically equipped group learning spaces, as well as an electronic classroom for instruction, a student gallery, and meeting rooms for public events and student exhibits, presentations, and other activities. The Media Commons features teaching and screening spaces; audio and video recording and production studios; workstations to support media viewing, capture, and design; and the state-of-the-art Telepresence Classroom, equipped with audio-sensitive cameras, multiple high-definition screens, and interactive whiteboards. The Research Lab, the Library’s most recent addition, was developed as an active and flexible space for formal and informal learning interactions among students, faculty, and research librarians. The lab supports student-librarian collaborations, class-based instruction sessions, group study, and peer tutoring. The Library also houses Bowdoin’s new Student Testing and Study Area (opening in the fall of 2018) that facilitates students and faculty needing to schedule alternative exams and assignments.

The George J. Mitchell Department of Special Collections & Archives includes rare books and manuscripts of unusual depth for a college library, plus images, recordings, and historical documents of the College, as well as the personal papers of notable alumni, including Senator George J. Mitchell (Class of 1954). These materials afford an invaluable opportunity for undergraduates to experience conducting original research; using primary resources in Special Collections & Archives is a distinguishing characteristic of a Bowdoin education.

The Government Documents Collection provides the Bowdoin community and the public access to print and digital government information reflecting over two centuries of federal and state history.

The Hatch Science Library offers research and instructional services and a variety of individual and group study facilities in support of its science-related print and digital resources.

The William Pierce Art Library and the Robert Beckwith Music Library, located adjacent to classrooms and offices for those departments, serve as centers for research and study. The Art Library offers a strong collection of art books and exhibition catalogs. The Music Library’s extensive collections include books, scores, sound recordings, and videos.