Cornell Library

Mind, body and soul at the Library

McGraw Tower — the iconic symbol for Cornell University — is the first thing most people notice when they arrive on campus.
It’s no coincidence that this imposing clock tower  is connected  to Uris Library, which served as Cornell’s main library for nearly 70 years. 
It’s also no coincidence that Andrew Dickson White, Cornell’s first president, believed that “the ideas of a great university and a great library are inextricably linked.” By donating his own books to Cornell, White turned the library into one of 19th-century America’s major repositories overnight.
Mind, body and soul: The Library feeds all three. 

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Collection Support: Our Top Priority

Library collections determine the future of scholarship. In the digital age, online resources have become vital, even as print remains alive and well. All libraries are working against a pervasive myth that all information is online, and everything online is free.

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Our Strategic Vision

Cornell University Library is the place — virtual and physical — where students, faculty, and researchers seek knowledge and expertise. It will be just as true in 2015 as it was in 1915, but the world of scholarship has changed dramatically in the past century.

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Our Plan

Cornell University Library’s strategic plan is ambitious in scope and scale. It responds to major forces affecting Cornell and all universities right now: an accelerating pace of change, a diffuse information ecology, a constricting resource base, a greater focus on educational outcomes, and a blurring of the processes and products associated with scholarship and creative expression.

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Why Give to the Library?

Because the Library is essential to research.

“I could not have produced my scholarship without Cornell’s library resources or the assistance of its superb staff.”

–Cornell faculty member

Because the Library helps young scholars distinguish signal from noise, teaching the skills to think critically, recognize reliable sources, and evaluate truth claims.

“The Library is the last place for thought uninterrupted.”

–Cornell student

Because the Library is a center for intellectual interaction that helps Cornellians connect to each other—and to a broader academic vision—across disciplines.

“The Library makes Cornell more than the sum of its parts.”

–Cornell student

Because the Library fosters intellectual breakthroughs—those ‘eureka’ moments when big new ideas click into place.

“What does the Library mean to me? A hushed big bang: Behold, the universe expands!”

–Cornell student

Because Library spaces serve as home away from home for every Cornellian—offering welcoming spots for academic productivity, quiet contemplation, and collaborative study.

“The Library is peaceful, quiet, caffeine-induced bliss.”

–Cornell student

Because the Library’s culture of excellence and rich collections—seeds planted by A.D. White and Ezra Cornell—are preserving cultural heritage.

“Libraries are the archival heart of any great university.”

–Cornell faculty member

Because the Library reaches beyond Cornell.

“The Library is a pyramid of thought. Each person building ideas for the world.”

–Cornell student

News & Media

Thanks to a donation from Michael Sillerman '68, a key library exhibit space will get a complete makeover.
The Library is leading a campus initiative to save valuable AV materials.
The Library’s newest exhibit marks the 150 anniversary of the 13th Amendment.
Arxiv, the research repository stewarded by Cornell University Library, recently accepted its 1 millionth submission.
Through a grant from the Luce Foundation Cornell Library is offering training on preserving books in China and Taiwan.
The Library will be digitizing the extensive collection of pioneering hip-hop critic Bill Adler.
The president of Iceland recently recognized a Cornell librarian with one of his country’s highest honors
A newly expanded Library website is expanding access to the work of leading German filmmaker Alexander Kluge.
The Library celebrates the past 150 years with a new exhibit of artifacts that highlight Cornell’s unique story.
An NSF-funded initiative will use the Library's VIVO software to help earth scientists share their data.
One-of-a-kind materials from Def Jam Recordings will be showcased on Cornell University Library’s website.
The Library has received a rich collection of works on the Jewish Enlightenment in Europe from a generous alumnus.
A beautiful personal library of fashion and textile books enriches Mann’s collection in fiber science & fashion design.
A grant is allowing the Cornell Library to digitize 250 hours of historic ILR audio tapes for public access.
The Business Research Guide has ranked Cornell's Management Library as the 2nd most impressive U.S. business school library.
Highlights from the Library’s Hip Hop Collection will be displayed in New York's Boo Hooray Gallery through July 29.
Anne Sauer, formerly of Tufts University, has become Cornell's first endowed director of Rare & Manuscript Collections.
On a morning run in Tokyo, Cornell librarian finds an antiques fair--and a Japanese alum’s 1886 notebook.
Librarians co-teach a new research methods course for undergraduates in the humanities and social sciences.
A comprehensive collection of union clothing labels at the Kheel Center helps document ILGWU history.
To mark Shakespeare’s 450th birthday, a flash exhibit at the Library displayed 17th century editions of the Bard’s work.
Graduating in 1914, one of Cornell’s most famous alumni seeded a vibrant legacy of Asian Studies scholarship at the Library.
The letters of Elizabeth "Betty" Williams Stavely '35 have found a permanent home at Cornell University Library.
A new donation adds colorful textiles to Cornell’s world-renowned Collection of Political America.
Three guest speakers will open the new exhibition “Speaking of Sex,” celebrating 25 years of the Human Sexuality Collection.
Cornell University Librarian Anne Kenney has earned the American Library Association's prestigious Hugh C. Atkinson Award
The Library has made a collection of travel slides by pioneering professor of urban planning John Reps ’47 available online.
A rare Civil War-era photo album assumes a place of honor as the 8 millionth volume in the Cornell Library collection.
A donation of archives to the Kheel Center by Jobs with Justice will preserve a quarter century of U.S. labor history.
A new Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant is helping the Library make information easier for scholars to discover and access.
The Library is scanning old seed catalogs to help develop online games that will improve digital collections.
Kheel Center will digitize over 1,500 labor management documents from the 1880s to the 1980s.
A $4.9 million grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will widen the Library's impact in Africa and South Asia.
The Library's Fall exhibition showing Cornell’s original copy of the Gettysburg Address now has a spotlight from Google.
Display of Cornell University Library's original copy of the Gettysburg Address celebrates 150th anniversary of Lincoln's …
2CUL partnership between Cornell and Columbia University libraries receives a new preservation grant to preserve ejournals.
Library staff are helping Cornell capture its web-based intellectual output by archiving its websites.
With the Library's help, AGORA has been providing web-based access to agricultural science literature for 10 years.
To celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Gettysburg Address, a new blog highlights the Library’s Civil War collections.
A photo display at the Africana Library celebrates major players of the 1963 March on Washington.

Giving Opportunities

Cornell University Library spans the intellectual breadth of the entire university — and so do the collections that support the huge range of learning, teaching and research taking place at Cornell.

All of the Library’s collections are outstanding, and many of them are the top in their fields. For example: Google came to Cornell to digitize its out-of-print agriculture collections, because they were the most complete and accessible in the country.  Cornell’s collections in area studies, from Asia to Iceland, are world-renowned.  And from primary materials that richly document watershed events like the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory Fire to the most recent data on global economic trends, Cornell students of industrial and labor relations can count on the best possible resources a library can offer.

Sustaining these rich collections—both print and digital—across all areas of study at the University is the Library’s top priority. But as the cost pressures of this emphasis mount, Cornell faces a challenge in keeping pace with its peers in building collections.  To address this need, Cornell University Library has launched a Campaign for Collections.  As part of the Campaign, each library within the Cornell Library system has developed its own top priorities. These “case statements” delineate the needs specific to the scholarship and expertise being fostered in the different disciplines.

Some collection needs, like support for rising journal prices, are constant across all libraries; others, like digitizing rare items or collecting performances from emerging composers, are more unique.

World-class collections determine the strength of the Library, and with your support they will help keep scholarship alive and well at Cornell.

Agriculture and Life Sciences

As a dynamic world leader in life science, agriculture, human ecology, and applied social science, Cornell University attracts talented faculty and students — and Mann Library helps make their research possible.  Mann’s collections are richly comprehensive, historically deep, and highly accessible.

”Through Mann Library, I have never yet failed to obtain immediate access to the world's most up to date scientific knowledge in my field, usually available online from the computer in my office! This library is indeed the envy of my scientific visitors and collaborators,” said Susan Henry, professor of molecular biology and genetics and former dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences. “To continue to compete at the cutting edge, it is vitally important to the future of Cornell that we retain the advantage of this extraordinary resource.”

Rapidly increasing subscription costs, zero-growth acquisitions budgets, and the rising demand for costly digital resources are creating a shortfall in Mann’s ability to sustain the level of excellence needed to advance the work of a world-class research community.  To close this excellence gap, Mann has the following funding priorities:

  • Building stronger collections of current online databases and journals, particularly in emergent areas of teaching and research at the University, such as applied economics and business, environmental science, and the life sciences;
  • Enhancing several journals’ digital back files (content that goes back to the beginning of publication);
  • Enriching monograph collections, including e-books and e-textbooks, as well as print volumes.

The areas of Mann’s collections needing additional support include:

  • Life and environmental sciences
  • Applied economics and business management
  • Nutrition and food science
  • Applied agricultural sciences and community engagement.

Art, Architecture, and Planning

Developing a broad and deep collection in response to the evolving curriculum in the College of Architecture, Art and Planning, is a top priority for the Fine Arts Library.

Exciting areas such as green building design, urban agriculture, landscape ecology, land use and preservation planning, furniture design, cinematic architecture, emerging material technologies, and the contemporary city need new infusions of books, journals, and multimedia resources to provide adequate support in these emerging fields of study and teaching.

“Library collections provide students with the means by which they understand their own world. Without those collections, and without the constant growth of those collections, that connection is impossible to make,” said Michael Tomlan, professor and director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation Planning. “It’s what distinguishes Cornell University as a first-class university.”

As a particularly visual group of learners and teachers, artists and architects rely heavily on visual resources — and digital images are key to their success

Research demands both still and moving images online; for example, replacing 35mm slide collections with digital images that can be accessed and shared easily is a necessary step. Commercial databases and collections of images are important to these efforts, and digitizing original images from practicing architects, planners and historians, presented on the library’s own platforms, further increases the material vital for study in the AAP disciplines.

And the Fine Arts Library will never abandon books. Many important materials still exist only in print, where aspects like the typeface and color are just as important to the book as its content, and the library is committed to maintaining a world-class print collection.

Arts and Sciences

The Library's comprehensive offerings for the College of Arts and Sciences span five different units, reflecting the depth and complexity of the research in these subject areas.

John M. Olin Library & Uris Library
The Olin and Uris library collection encompasses a wide range of disciplines in the humanities, social sciences, and more — the 26 academic departments that are the primary constituents of Olin and Uris require an extraordinary breadth and depth of library resources for advanced research.
The Olin and Uris collection is a hybrid of print and electronic resources and the leaders of these historic campus libraries feel strongly that continued, intensive development of hybrid collections will best serve researchers over the next five years.

Support for collections that enable new approaches to research in the humanities is a top priority. “Data mining” in large bodies of texts is a key component of digital humanities research, and digital resources that support this work include items such as online backfiles of newspapers, full-text primary resources in history, linguistic corpora and large humanities data sets like digital performances, images and streamed video sets, among others. Purchasing e-textbooks from academic publishers is also a growing area of interest.

Mary Beth Norton, the Mary Donlon Alger Professor of American History, calls Olin Library her "second home," but the library's role in her intellectual life goes far beyond its physical presence. Some of her most recent research would be impossible without the digitized materials that now serve as a cornerstone of the library's collections

At the same time, print resources remain vital for the researchers and students who use Olin and Uris. Building a deep and strong hybrid collection cannot mean simply shifting funds from print to digital — it requires additional funding for the library.

Creating a news media center to stream news over screens and preserve it for the historical record is another big goal for the libraries. Additionally, visual resources in all formats are increasingly important and need more representation in the Library’s collections.

Growing areas of interest in the College of Arts & Sciences that require increased support from the library include Near Eastern Studies, Caribbean and African literature in English, conflict studies, Mediterranean Jewish Studies, medical anthropology and border studies, among many others. At the same time, at a time when budget pressures are forcing many libraries to curtail collecting in languages other than English, Olin and Uris libraries are committed to continuing to collect intensively  in multiple languages, particularly from Western and Eastern Europe, offering students and faculty the broadest possible access to international scholarly perspectives.

John Henrik Clarke  Africana Library
The Africana Library prides itself on its strong connection with faculty and students.
Its top priority speaks to their most pressing needs for learning, teaching, and research: access to the wealth of primary sources and multimedia relating to the history and culture of people of African ancestry.

Current Africana Library purchase needs include digitized collections of original materials, particularly historical newspapers — and many of these valuable primary sources can be found in the extensive electronic databases. The Library needs new film documentaries focusing on various components of the Africana diaspora, as well.

“Having our own library at the Africana Center means that I can be talking with a student and suggest we go right to the library to look at something. In that moment, to be able to go and check a primary source immediately -- it enriches the instruction for our students and helps them realize that serious research is within their reach,” said Robert Harris, professor of Africana Studies.

Individual gifts make a big difference at the Africana Library. For example, Jim Irish and Andrea Glanz — alumni from the Class of ’74 — recently established the Caribbean Studies Collection Fund as a way to honor Africana faculty member Locksley Edmonson. This fund allows Africana Librarian Eric Acree to purchase new materials in a very specific field not only to support one professor directly, but also to provide a window into a field of study for Cornell students and faculty.

In addition to purchasing more multimedia titles and increasing database access, the Library would like to expand its print collections to include more materials on the Afro-Caribbean, West Africa, and Southern Africa.

Mathematics Library
Cornell’s Mathematics Library is possibly the best in the country. It’s popular with students and faculty on campus, and it boasts the heaviest use of any library in the system — more than 80 percent of its collection circulates regularly. 

That kind of use means that the Library must keep building the mathematics collection aggressively both in print and online.

“Frequently, old books that aren’t available online can be found at the library. In mathematics, things don’t go out of date the way they do in other sciences…. I just did a paper with a colleague where the material we needed appeared in the 1930s, and all the articles were available from the library,” said Mathematics Professor Richard Shore. “I’ve also been particularly pleased in recent years with the amount of back digitization that’s been going on, because it’s useful to have the digitized copy for search purposes.”

Mathematics books are particularly good candidates to go electronic, but the Library needs both online and print versions of its most heavily used books. Librarian Steve Rockey notes that students and faculty will walk into his office holding a print book and ask if they can get it electronically.
Purchasing more electronic resources — both e-books and online journals — tops the Mathematics Library’s list of collections priorities. Additional funding for monographs at all levels of study, from first-year undergraduates to the most advanced researchers, would keep the collection strong.

Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance
The Music Library’s holdings are both tangible and online, including books, scores, and audio-visual materials. The library supports research in western classical music as well as popular and world musics.

Major funding priorities for this world-class collection include:

  • Ongoing support for subscriptions to streaming audio and video services, which are widely used by students, faculty, and researchers both on and off campus, as well as one-time funding to purchase streaming modules as they become available.
  • Ongoing support for purchasing books and scores, both in electronic and tangible formats, and representing current and past scholarship as well as primary sources
  • Ongoing support to help maintain the library’s commitment to collecting works of living composers, in support of the Music Department’s distinguished composition program.
  • Funds for digitizing relatively rare holdings, such as opera scores, chamber music, and hymnals that are unique to Cornell and in demand by researchers

The skyrocketing book, journal, and audio-visual prices affecting all libraries are at work for this collection as well, and building a digital infrastructure while still collecting print/tangible resources is a continual challenge.

The Music Department is committed to comparative scholarship:  providing access to a wide range of the most recent scholarship is essential, and also requires access to historic materials in order to establish a context for understanding.  As Steve Pond, Associate Professor and Department Chair noted, “Aging pages, scribbled marginalia and advertisements, record labels and album covers: These ephemeral physical objects make library collections essential to the music scholar, over and above the authors’ words. Music scholarship depends on comparing successive versions of truth and beauty, requiring access to new scholarship while continuing to collect, preserve, and make accessible historic primary and secondary source materials.”

Pond also noted that the Library’s “Hip-Hop Collection, for example, seeks to preserve for future generations early and fragile artifacts of an important music and culture's formative times, while collecting current scholarship informed by these artifacts. Cornell also takes seriously its obligation to make these materials accessible to scholars and stakeholders in hip-hop's history. This is an essential duty.”

In addition, the Music Department’s long-standing focus on performance practice requires an extensive collection of scores in both historic and current editions, recordings of works in multiple performances, and appropriate critical and theoretical sources to support comparative study.  Performance practice as understood at Cornell includes not only musics of the more distant past, but also musics of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, requiring a robust acquisitions program to support the level of research expected in the department.

Edna McConnell Clark Library for the Physical Sciences
Cornell’s Physical Sciences Library supports top research in chemistry, physics and astronomy.  These disciplines are also core fields for the applied sciences. For the Library, that means a huge number of students, faculty, and researchers in fields ranging from theoretical physics to geology to food science rely on its resources for their research.

The Library’s most pressing need is for increased digital access, which is so vital for scientific research that it’s not just a preference, it’s a necessity — and its absence can be a dealbreaker.
“Overall I could write twenty years ago that we had in chemistry and related fields the best library in the world. I can't say that today,” said Roald Hoffmann, the Frank H.T. Rhodes Professor of Humane Letters Emeritus and 1981 chemistry Nobel laureate. “Cancellations…have made that statement untrue.”

To continue a positive trajectory, the Library needs:

  • Subscriptions to e-journals, which fall short in the face of publishers’ constantly rising prices
  • Core collections of e-books to support the electronic library
  • Specialized databases, such as tables and handbooks of particular materials, which are constantly updated and easier to use online
  •  New materials for specific research projects undertaken by Cornell’s faculty members

The Library would also like to expand its collections into several Cornell-specific research areas, such as groundbreaking materials for sustainability, renewable energy, synthetic cartilage, and much more.

Asia Collections

Cornell University Library maintains one of the largest and most significant collections of Asia-related materials in North America.

Right now, the Asia collections face a critical turning point: In 20 years, if certain materials haven’t been added to Cornell’s collection, they may cease to exist in this country —and possibly in the entire world.

Each collection needs one-time support for digitization projects and databases, which will make more information available to Cornell scholars and others around the world.

Top priorities can also be identified for each subject area:

  • The Echols Collection on Southeast Asia needs more journals and monographs in every subject area, as well as funding to preserve and digitize manuscripts, newspapers, ephemera and other archival materials.
  • The Wason Collection on East Asia needs digital resources. China’s strong digitization programs mean many materials are available online, but they are very costly and sometimes require annual subscriptions.
  • The South Asia Collection needs materials to support Buddhist Studies. Unusual South Asian languages such as Sinhala and Nepali are regularly taught at Cornell but nowhere else in the United States, and the collection needs to purchase primary-source materials to support them.

Expert curators for each of these collections need support to travel to Asian countries so that they can make vital purchases and connect with scholars in their specific regions. These trips, which cost between $5,000 and $10,000, are the most cost-efficient and effective way to bring unique material into the Asia collections; curators can find materials they didn’t even know existed.

Finally, in addition to supporting the strong research and teaching in Cornell’s Asian Studies programs, these collections are also integral to departments throughout the university. Government Prof. Allen Carlson noted, for example, that the Wason collection “helped make [his] time at Cornell more productive, and stands out as a crucial component to China-related research on campus…. While the staff has done great things with the collection, it is working with too few resources and support, and is in great need of more if it is to reinforce its already strong reputation.”

Human Ecology

As a dynamic world leader in human ecology, life science, agriculture, and applied social science, Cornell University attracts talented faculty and students — and Mann Library helps make their research possible.  Mann’s collections are richly comprehensive, historically deep, and highly accessible.

“Last year, I was working on a large-scale literature review on age differences in depression rates. Halfway into the review I noticed that one critical database was no longer available via Cornell. Fortunately, librarians at Mann were able to restore access within a week,” said Corinna E. Loeckenhoff, assistant professor of Human Development. “It’s this responsiveness to developing needs that makes for a great library.”

Zero-growth acquisitions budgets, rapidly increasing subscription costs, and rising demand for costly digital resources are creating a shortfall in Mann’s ability to sustain its customary level of excellence for a world-class research community. 

To close this excellence gap, Mann has the following funding priorities:

  • Enhancing several journals’ digital backfiles (content that goes back to the beginning of publication);
  • Building stronger collections of current online databases and journals, particularly in emergent areas of teaching and research at the University, such as fiber science, nanotechnology, and health science, policy and economics ;
  • Enriching monograph collections, including e-books and e-textbooks, as well as print volumes.

The areas of Mann’s collections needing additional support include nutrition and food science, design and fiber science, human development and public policy, and health sciences and administration.


Engineering students and faculty have a diverse set of needs, but digital access tops the list.

The Library needs two different kinds of funding:

  • Ongoing support for subscriptions to databases and e-journals that are continually updated with the latest cutting-edge findings; and
  • One-time support for older issues of journals — called “backfiles” — that are vital for comprehensive, in-depth research.

Digital access is so vital for engineering research that it’s not just a preference, it’s a necessity — and its absence can be a dealbreaker.

“The pace of research is such that I feel that if I don't have it immediately, I can’t use it,” said C. Thomas Avedisian, Professor of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. “Without a comprehensive digital library, the pace for discovery and breaking new ground in my research would be slowed considerably.”

Priority areas for Engineering collections include sustainability, energy, computer and information science, and medical and bioengineering.

Hotel Administration

The Nestlé Hospitality Library is moving into its new place in the Marriott Student Learning Center and evolving to meet the needs of its expanding customer base.

Many of those needs revolve around digital resources, and purchasing new e-books —course reserve materials — top the Library’s list of priorities.

Equally important to Hotel students and faculty are subscriptions to electronic resources and online services, which increase in price every year. Licensing these vital services allows the Library to provide up-to-the-minute information on consumer and hospitality industry trends.

Membership in several professional organizations and databases of proprietary information, which are accessible in the private sector, would also help the Library keep pace with the rapidly changing information environment.

With the Hotel School’s new real estate major and minor, the Library would also like to strengthen its resources in the area of real estate as a “financial asset.”

Finally, the Library maintains a historic collection of menus from a century’s worth of restaurants  — and its contributors range from Alice Statler herself to current library staff members. Digitizing this collection in-house, with the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, would make it freely available online for researchers and Cornell history buffs alike.

“Education is a business whose foundation is dynamic knowledge which up-to-date libraries can provide to enhance the learning experience for both educators and students,” said Crocker Liu, the Robert A. Beck Professor of Hospitality Financial Management. “The war on educational mediocrity starts with having the right library infrastructure.”


The Catherwood Library provides a host of research opportunities, from historical analyses to the most current organizational practices — which means that its fundraising needs are just as diverse as its subject matter.

To maintain its position as the premier library in its field, Catherwood needs support for:

  • Digitizing the Library’s one-of-a-kind collections of print, microform and audiovisual materials to enhance student and faculty research;
  • Meeting rising costs of current academic journal subscriptions;
  • Capturing and preserving born-digital collections
  • Purchasing monographs in both print and digital formats;
  • Licensing databases so that ILR students can be exposed to the same information as those working in law firms, corporations, and nonprofits; and
  • Acquiring new international resources, which are necessary for students to understand employment issues in a global context.

Support for materials about employment relations (in multiple formats and languages) is Catherwood’s top priority.


The legal information landscape has undergone dramatic changes in the past 10-15 years. The development of the Internet has created an explosion of readily available legal resources.

The Law Library’s most pressing need, therefore, is to acquire large primary-source collections in newly available digital formats, as well as rare books that complement the existing collection and expand its scope in directions most useful to Law School faculty and students.

Other top priorities include:

  • Subscribing to major ProQuest databases on the U.S. congressional record
  • Increasing  print and digital collections on foreign and international law
  • Purchasing rare books on early American and English subjects
  • Developing a new special collection on American juries, which would be unique to Cornell

“The resources of the Cornell Law Library special collections and, in particular, the Trials Collection, are an exceptional aid to teaching and research,” said Bernadette A. Meyler, professor of law. “Legal historians I know from Harvard and Yale have also been drawn to Cornell Law School for periods of time by the lure of the materials the Law Library retains.”


The Johnson School’s top-tier students and faculty require continual access to a range of premier library resources — which means that comprehensive online databases, available 24/7 from any location, are the Management Library’s top priority.

To stay competitive with its peers, the Management Library needs ongoing support for subscriptions to databases and e-journals containing a range of business information.

“The Management Library does a great job of providing me with digital access to huge amounts of research material,” said Mark Nelson, Eleanora & George Landew Professor of Management and Professor of Accounting. “Moreover, they provide consultations to help me and my students understand how to access these resources. I consider that access and support to be critical to both the research and teaching missions of the Johnson School.”

In particular, the Library needs online materials to support expanding fields in the Johnson School and the business world at large: emerging markets, entrepreneurship and innovation, and sustainable global enterprise. Key subject areas such as finance, accounting, and marketing also need continual renewal.

Rare and Manuscript Collections

The Library has collected unique, rare, original research materials since Cornell's first President, Andrew Dickson White, began assembling important research and teaching collections in the 19th century. 

Gifts, donations and endowments that support the Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections (RMC) — the University’s principal repository of rare books, manuscripts, and archival materials — continue that tradition and help build Cornell’s legacy.

RMC’s top collecting priorities focus on expanding and strengthening several of its world-class collections. Just a few examples of our for historically important unique archives include the Hip Hop Collection, Photographs and Visual Materials, the Human Sexuality Collection, and the University Archives. New collections in areas like punk music also inform the future of scholarship at the University.

Many of these collections include materials that document current culture, as well as eras long past. Materials from the past few decades are just as vulnerable as older documents to loss or neglect; RMC provides for their preservation to ensure that future generations will have the ability to study our own times.

Cornell Prof. Michael Tomlan noted that collections give students “the means by which they understand their own world. Without the growth of our collections, that connection is impossible to make. … As alumni, we have a responsibility to make sure the Library can provide for them."

Veterinary Medicine

At Cornell’s world-class veterinary school, a growing appreciation for the “one-health” concept — the idea that veterinary medicine and human medicine are inextricably linked — means that the library must support that long-standing interrelationship.

Purchasing more ebooks and ejournals in human medicine is the Flower-Sprecher Veterinary Library’s top priority.

Faculty research is the driving force behind this need. Although some human medicine resources can be shared with the Weill-Cornell Medical College in New York City, licensing agreements require that the Veterinary Library purchase many of its own online resources for students and faculty on the Ithaca campus.

Other areas that need support include:

  • Public health and global medicine teaching and research
  • Emerging subject areas, including drug discovery
  • Business management and pet health marketing studies
  • Rare and historical books in veterinary medicine

“Whether consulting with staff to find unique resources, using printed material or accessing electronic journals, the library is an essential part of my research and teaching at Cornell,” said Prof. Lorin Warnick, Associate Dean and Director of the Cornell University Hospital for Animals. “Maintaining and expanding our collections is integral to achieving excellence in our veterinary education, outreach and service and biomedical research programs.”

Ongoing support for the rising costs of serials and subscription renewals, as well as purchasing more ebooks in veterinary medicine, are also top priorities.

Related Links


Library Contacts

Communications Development

Zsuzsa Koltay
Director of Assessment and Communication

Jennifer Sawyer
Director of External Relations