William & Mary

A Swem Library timeline

1697
Library established in Wren Building with books donated by Francis Nicholson, an original trustee of the College

1705
Library destroyed by fire; only one book saved

1716
Wren Building rebuilt with funds from Queen Anne; local citizens asked to donate books to library

1761
College appoints first official librarian

1781
Library plundered during Siege of Yorktown in Revolutionary War

1793
Library collection grows to 4,000 books, making it the second largest college library in the U.S.

1859
Library destroyed by fire

1861
College closed due to Civil War; Wren Building used as a hospital

1862
Library destroyed by fire

1865
College reopens

1905
Andrew Carnegie pledges $20,000 for construction of new library

1909
New library building, called The Library, opens

1923
Addition doubles size of library

1930
3-story addition completed with marble staircase

1941
Men’s and women’s lounges opened in basement of library

1943
Airplane spotting station moved to library tower during WWII

1964
Construction begins on Earl Gregg Swem Library, named after college librarian (1920-1944)

1966
Swem Library opens

1966
Old library building renovated for new tenant, The Law School

1968
Old library building renamed Marshall-Wythe Hall

1980
Law School moves out of Marshall-Wythe Hall; English department moves in; building renamed Tucker Hall

1986
Addition to front of Swem Library completed

2005
Swem Library addition of two three-story pavilions completed     

2015
Ground floor renovation completed; renovated Reeder Media Center opens

2016
Swem Library celebrates its 50th anniversary