About the Library

Mission Statement
The Class of 1945 Library seeks to provide for all its patrons—students, faculty/staff, and Academy family—a diverse collection of materials, technology, programs, and exhibits for informational and recreational needs. The hope is to encourage life-long pleasure in intellectual discovery through instruction and program.

Renowned architect Louis I. Kahn was commissioned in November 1965 to design the Academy Library. Construction began in April 1969 and was completed in November 1971. In 1995, the library was officially named the Class of 1945 Library, honoring Dr. Lewis Perry, Exeter's eighth principal (1914-1946).

At present, the Library provides access to 260,000 print and electronic volumes.  The print volumes are housed on nine levels with a shelf capacity of 250,000 volumes. Two seminar rooms on the fourth floor are available for classes and meetings. There are 210 study carrels, as well as numerous reading lounges and long tables at which students can work together. The seating capacity of the Library can accommodate nearly half the student population of the Academy.

Biblion, the automated catalog/circulation system, is available to locate library materials. The reference collection on the main floor contains more than 4,000 volumes. The Library subscribes to 335 print magazines,  27,700 electronic journals in 47 databases, and maintains 10,000 volumes of bound periodicals. In addition, the Library has an extensive collection of microfilm and microfiche.

© Steve RosenthalSome 8,500 volumes are separated from the general circulating collection in smaller collections on the fourth floor, including the alumni/ae collection with more than 4,500 items. Such treasures as leaves from 13th- to 16th-century illuminated manuscripts, 16th-century wood engravings, original ships' logs, and early British and American newspapers are available for scholarly research and are displayed from time to time in special exhibits. The Library's Ottaway/Bown Adams Silent Film Library is a collection of more than 300 films produced in the United States, England, France, Germany, and Russia.

All the holdings of the Academy library are listed in the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), and most are available to readers throughout the nation and the world on interlibrary loan.

Phillips Exeter Academy embraces the ideal of Universal Access on our campus.  All entrances to the library are accessible, and an elevator, in the back hall off the Mark D. Kaplanoff  '66 Periodicals Room, provides access to upper floors.

"It is a focus of the community and of the life of the mind at the school, where one may linger and ponder rather than simply absorb information."
       - Robert N. Shapiro '68, Chair,
         Friends of the Academy Library


Read "An Open Book," a profile of the library from The Exeter Bulletin, Winter 2006.

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