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College libraries ranked among nation's best

The College of William and Mary’s libraries are among the best in the country, according to rankings from The Princeton Review.

The rankings list William and Mary eighth in its category of “Best College Library.” The list is part of The Princeton Review’s annual college guidebook, the Best 368 Colleges, which was published in summer 2008.

The recognition is satisfying news for those connected to William and Mary’s main campus library, the Earl Gregg Swem Library. The library recently completed an extensive renovation and expansion. The six-year, $36.2-million construction project, completed in 2004, transformed the building (originally built in 1965) into a state-of-the-art university library facility. The Wolf Law Library at the William and Mary Law School also recently completed a major renovation and expansion. The Princeton Review list did not specify a library facility. The rankings are based on surveys of nearly 120,000 undergraduates from across the country.

 “We are very proud of our renovated, expanded and improved library facilities and understand their importance in the overall educational experience here,” said William and Mary Provost P. Geoffrey Feiss. “Both projects at Swem and the Wolf Law Library were critically needed. It’s nice to now be recognized and included among what people consider the country’s best.”

The expansion project at Swem Library more than doubled the building’s size—from 100,000 square feet to more than 268,000 square feet. This included an additional 34,000 linear feet in collection capacity, 792 spaces in seating capacity, and information commons and the new Warren E. Burger Special Collections Wing. The late chief justice of the U.S. Supreme Court also served as William and Mary’s 20th chancellor. The now wired and wireless library offers patrons computer access from any vantage point in the building. Traditional stacks are accompanied by laptops, DVD’s and multi-media rooms. Other popular amenities include a 24-hour study lounge and café, new special exhibit space and individual and group study rooms.

The Wolf Law Library recently completed a $16.8-million project in 2007. The law library is a combination of newly constructed space and a complete floor-to-ceiling renovation of the original 1980 facility. The new facility totals 57,100 net square feet, a 56% increase in size from the old library.   i