The Earl Gregg Swem Library is located on Landrum Drive between Millington Hall and Small Hall. William & Mary has been consistently ranked in the top 10 in the Princeton Review rankings of best university libraries in recent years. The library is named for Earl Gregg Swem (1870-1965), William & Mary’s librarian from 1920-1944. The first library building on campus was dedicated in 1909 and opened simply as the Library. That building is today known as Tucker Hall.
By the early 1950s, concern mounted about the threatening inadequacies of the library that is now Tucker Hall (the university’s first library was housed in the Wren Building). With the expansion of campus under President Davis Y. Paschall, land was finally available for the new library. Construction began in 1964, and the dedication ceremony took place during Charter Day exercises in 1966.
By the 1980s, the need for additional shelving resulted in an addition made to all four floors of the front of the building. A decade later, there were critical space needs for Special Collections, computers, and group study rooms. In 1998, ground was broken for two three-story pavilions which were added to the east side of the library. The larger pavilion features a spacious reading room on the first floor and compact shelving throughout; the smaller houses rare books, university archives, and the papers and memorabilia of Chief Justice Warren E. Burger. As it presently stands, the Earl Gregg Swem Library was rededicated on Charter Day, 2005.
The original statue of Lord Botetourt that stood in the Wren Yard until 1958 is currently located in the Botetourt Gallery on the ground floor. A number of portraits and sculptures by Carl Roseberg are also on display throughout the library. Notable resources within Swem Library include the Media Center and the Special Collections Research Center.