The Colby Libraries overarching mission is to provide our users (faculty, staff, and students) with a myriad of resources and services that support learning, critical thinking, research, and the creation of new knowledge.

The libraries are central to Colby’s scholarship. The staff of the Colby Libraries is dedicated to maintaining, developing, and improving one of the most comprehensive and expansive libraries for undergraduate and faculty research in a liberal arts setting. Additionally, the staff of the Colby Libraries is committed to exploring, utilizing, and teaching about the new frontiers of information and knowledge acquisition in the digital age as well as actively working to preserve and teach about items of cultural and intellectual significance.

To fulfill our mission, the staff of the Colby Libraries:

  • Collaborates with faculty to help support their individual teaching and research-related needs
  • Identifies, acquires, provides access, and preserves scholarly works and resources that support teaching and faculty and student research
  • Manages and promotes use of the College’s rare and unique materials, among other primary sources
  • Teaches and guides students how to discover, evaluate, and ethically use information and understand all aspects of information literacy
  • Provide user-centered spaces for group and individual research, study, collaboration, and contemplation

Highlights of Colby Libraries

There are three physical libraries on campus:

Miller Library houses the humanities and social science collections, the College archives, and Special Collections. The lowest level in Miller, known as The Street, contains individual and group study space that is open 24 hours a day.

The Bixler Art and Music Library features an extensive collection of art and music books, journals, sound recordings, music scores, and a digital media lab.

The Science Library houses books, journals, and DVDs that support programs in the natural and physical sciences, computer science, and mathematics.

The libraries provide access to an impressive and wide-ranging collection of print and eBook monographs, full-text databases, electronic journals, and a suite of reference sources, including:

  • 1,720,000 items, including more than 530,000 electronic books, and access to more than 22,000 print and 130,000 electronic periodicals and newspapers
  • Hundreds of popular and authoritative full-text and abstract scholarly research databases, with content across a wide range of disciplines
  • Downloadable content from digital archives like Hathi Trust
  • Library annex – Colby has been a selective depository for U.S. government publications since 1880
  • Additional resources are provided through interlibrary loan
  • The Colby libraries are the only members of the HathiTrust and the Center for Research Libraries in Maine, providing increased access to otherwise unavailable primary sources.

We also offer the following resources and services:

  • A highly skilled and knowledgeable staff that offers expert support and assistance to help students meet academic and lifelong learning goals
  • A comprehensive full-service website from which users can discover and access the majority of services and content curated and provided by the Colby Libraries
  • Collaborative, as well as quiet, study spaces to support research and learning
  • Unique and rare primary sources in Special Collections, housed in Miller Library
  • A diverse collection of music scores, sound recordings, streaming videos, DVDs, CD-ROMs, and other multimedia
  • Digital media labs, copy machines, short-term computer loans, and access to digital scanners
  • Computer labs, wireless networks, laptops, study areas, and a digital media lab are available for student use in all three facilities.
  • Digital preservation and publishing services
    • Digital Commons @ Colby presents the intellectual, creative, and scholarly culture of the Colby College community. It is a collection of outstanding student work, faculty scholarship, college records, campus history, and the unique materials of the libraries’ Special Collections.

Colby Libraries Special Collections has achieved international recognition for its collections of first editions and literary manuscripts. Some highlights include:

  • The elegant Edwin Arlington Robinson Memorial Room, named for the Pulitzer Prize-winning Maine poet, is a venue for poetry readings and other public events, student presentations and exhibitions, and quiet study.
  • A robust archives education program in Special Collections also uses the Robinson Room for archival labs that connect hundreds of students each academic year with rich archival collections and rare books, supporting innovative teaching with primary sources. Major literary collections of books, manuscripts, letters, and memorabilia include Robinson, Thomas Hardy, Vernon Lee, Sarah Orne Jewett, Henry James, and Bern Porter.
  • An extensive James Augustine Healy Collection focuses on the Irish Literary Renaissance (1880-1940).
  • In 2006 Special Collections acquired the personal papers of former Maine Poet Laureate Wesley McNair.
  • The Alfred King Chapman Room houses the College archives, which documents the College’s development over 200 years. An extensive collection of alumni files is drawn upon for archival labs, student scholarship, and family history research.

Detailed information about Colby’s library collections, services, and hours is provided at colby.edu/libraries/.