Today’s Hours:

All Hours & Directions

Terrell Main Library

10am - 12am

Circulation Desk

10am - 12am

Research Help Daytime

1:30pm - 5pm

Research Help Evening

7pm - 9pm

Libraries Administrative Office

Closed

Azariah's Cafe

10am - 4pm

CIT Help Desk

Writing Center Daytime

2pm - 5pm

Writing Center Evening

7pm - 11pm

Speaking Center

Directions:

Location:

Mary Church Terrell Main Library
148 W College St. Oberlin, OH 44074-1545

Parking:

The main visitor lot is the east Service Building lot, and the south row of the Carnegie Building lot for visitors to offices within that building.

Terrell Main Library Floor Plans

Floor Plans

Other Libraries Hours & Directions

Learn More
Search icon

The Reading Girl

A marble statue by American sculptor John Adams Jackson (1825-1879), the Reading Girl has resided in the Oberlin College Libraries, with one interruption, since 1885.

Today, the Reading Girl is located near the Academic Commons on the main floor of the Mary Church Terrell Main Library, but her history features a journey remembered by generations of Oberlin students. She has witnessed the growth of the Oberlin College Libraries, represents the opportunities the college has provided women scholars, and is a reminder of the value of physical books in the digital era.

The Reading Girl, a marble statue of a young woman reading, with a real orange sneaker put on her foot.

The Reading Girl located outside of Azariah's Café.

She served as a focal point for the central reading rooms of the old Spear and Carnegie libraries before finding a permanent home in the Mudd Center as part of the Mary Church Terrell Main Library. The sculpture was placed in storage sometime in the early '50s, and former director of libraries William A. Moffett arranged to move the Reading Girl to her present location on the main level of the Mudd Center in the early '80s. Since then, Oberlin students have embellished her with various articles of clothing and props over the years (she sports a size 6 sneaker most of the time).

Jackson modeled the sculpture in Florence, Italy, in 1869. It was purchased by Aaron A. Healy of Brooklyn, New York, who later gave it to Oberlin College. At the dedication of Spear Library, Healy’s uncle, Professor A.H. Currier, noted her "singular fitness" for the library of the college that "first opened its doors to young women seeking higher education."

The Reading Girl is one of the few unchanging aspects of the library in the Internet age. Her enduring presence reminds us of the longevity of our collections, and of a time when those primarily print materials were housed in one location. She also reflects the centrality of the library's collections and services to the academic mission of Oberlin College and Conservatory.

The Oberlin College Observer featured an article about the Reading Girl in 1980.

Read Article