The college’s main library, the Robert Frost Library, stands in the center of campus and supports all manner of teaching and research.
Collections include more than 1.3 million print volumes and millions more electronic items, including journals, databases, films, music, and troves of manuscripts and archival material. The Five College Catalog serves as the inventory of record for all cataloged holdings, including those shelved off campus. Archives and Special Collections maintains online finding aids, and, increasingly, digitized versions of manuscripts, books, and images in Amherst College Digital Collections.
Research and instruction librarians work with faculty to teach research to classes in all disciplines. A friendly and expert face is usually available at the reference desk. Reference librarians are also happy to chat online.
Frost Library offers numerous spaces for quite study and collaborative work, including a cafe with comfortable seating, food and drink, and a new balcony.
The library’s website guides you to catalogs, databases (with full-text articles from newspapers, popular and scholarly journals, images, streaming media, and more), government publications, digital collections, primary sources, and freely available resources selected by librarians. Our research guides can get you started, point you to subject-specific databases, and give you contact information for the librarians who specialize in your field.
The campus boasts four libraries: the main Robert Frost Library, the Keefe Science Library, the Vincent Morgan Music Library, and the Center for Russian Culture. Frost houses collections in the social sciences, humanities, fine arts, and parts of the sciences. Frost is also home to Archives and Special Collections, Digital Programs, the Amherst College Press, the federal depository collection, the largest computer lab on campus, and all units that acquire, classify, describe, and preserve collections.
Hours for all facilities are available here. Faculty and student IDs provides access to the science library 24 hours per day, 365 days per year.
- Books & Scores: 365 days
- Print journals: 3 days
- Music CDs: 28 days
- Other media: 7 days
- Books: 28 days (renewable in the catalog)
- DVDs: 5 days
The library charges fines for late material.
- Reserve material: $5 for first hour; $1 for each subsequent hour
- Recalled material: $2 per day
The library posts electronic reserves in the appropriate course’s Moodle page. It maintains print reserve collections in Frost, the science library, and the music library. Instructions for placing material on reserve are here.
Research and Instruction Services
The library provides expert research assistance most hours that Frost is open, and more limited hours in the science and music libraries. We encourage students to make individual appointments with librarians to discuss theses, term papers, and presentations.
Research and instruction librarians teach course-specific and assignment-specific research methods and strategies to more than two hundred classes each year. We are eager to partner with faculty in tailoring sessions to particular needs: please contact your library liaison for a conversation over coffee.
Ordering Material for the Library