A Message from the Director
Greetings and Welcome to the Oberlin College Libraries!
The Libraries play a central role in the educational mission at Oberlin. We collect, preserve, and make accessible diverse resources that make teaching and research possible. We also serve as information experts on campus, encouraging the development of informed scholars and engaged citizens.
The Oberlin College Libraries are made up of the Mary Church Terrell Main Library (in the Mudd Center), the Conservatory Library (within the Conservatory Complex), the Clarence Ward Art Library and Visual Resources Collection (located in the Venturi Art Building), the Science Library (in the Science Center), the Terrell Special Collections, and the College Archives. Through our collections and those of our consortial library partners in Ohio, we offer an extraordinary variety of digital and print resources.
Founded in 1834, just one year after Oberlin College was established, our library system ranks among the oldest liberal arts college libraries in the nation. The earliest object-centered collection is the Anti-Slavery Collection, which began forming in the 1830s and includes books, pamphlets, and ephemera regularly used by scholars and in coursework at Oberlin. The Libraries’ collections reflect Oberlin’s long-standing position that Black lives matter—and for over 180 years, we have collected records and archives of those lives to document our nation’s history. Other collections of note include significant strengths in the areas of illustrated Japanese books, dime store novels, artists’ books, Spanish drama, and Jazz archives, to name just a few.
The Oberlin College Libraries enjoy the support of an active and supportive patron group – the Friends of the Oberlin College Libraries and we encourage you to consider joining! Friends receive our Library Perspectives newsletter and invitations to special programs and events, as well as our Annual Meeting in November each year.
At Oberlin, we acknowledge our responsibility to create a community that is open-minded, inclusive, and anti-racist. Among the core values of our libraries, we hold especially dear freedom of speech, promotion of diversity, and recognition of our social responsibility to inform and educate for progress. These principles shape our approaches on many fronts as we aim to address the historical erasure of marginalized communities in our collections and in our programming. We teach information literacy for change, and we dig deep into primary source materials for diverse perspectives. It is our goal—and our duty—to make sure our users can get to the whole story. Providing access to the widest possible variety of resources makes that possible.
Oberlin’s Libraries welcome you to spend some time in our libraries, where information is transformed into knowledge, creativity, and innovation. Enjoy our collections and our beautiful spaces.