Earl Gregg Swem Library provides access to a number of various resources, including books, manuscripts, journals, and videos. But these resources tell only part of the story. For Karthik Ilakkuvan '13, the library's Media Center, group study rooms and other amenities have been key to his success at William & Mary.
"They offer so many things beyond just a typical library," Karthik said, recalling an assignment for a Russian class. Karthik's charge was to write subtitles for a Russian-language television show. The fast speech of the characters made their dialogue difficult to understand.
"In the Media Center, they're just able to slow things down, and they have subtitling capability," Karthik said. "I completed the translation myself, but the technical aspect of understanding what they were saying – which seemed so daunting at first – was made easier by the resources Swem provided."
A marketing major, Karthik said the library is the automatic "go-to" spot whenever a group project is assigned. This was especially true for Simulation Week, during which groups of first-semester business students are tasked with creating and running a business through an online simulation.
"We came to Swem, and we literally were here for hours on end," Karhik said. "It's just so conducive to that work atmosphere."
Karthik said he enjoys the "comfort" of the library and the fact that it offers plenty of opportunities for students to take a break from their studies.
"At William & Mary, people legitimately go to the library to relax, hang out or meet friends. I think that's a very rare thing to find in a library," he said. "It's one of those things that really does help define campus."
Swem's ability to continue meeting the changing needs of William & Mary's students, upgrade technology, and maintain the inviting space it provides are the major reasons Karthik says private support from friends and alumni is essential.
"I think that the combination of exceptional resources and the feeling that Swem is a place where we can study and work collaboratively really makes Swem what it is and makes it so appealing for the student body in general," he said. A great library, according to Karthik, is essential for a university of William & Mary's caliber.
"William & Mary is able to put us in an environment where we think, discuss, and intellectually debate," he said. "People have a passion for learning here." Swem is the place where the College's active learning community indulges its passions.
Gifts to the Swem Make a Difference Fund help provide students and faculty with exceptional support for their research, teaching, and learning.