Lafayette Library was awarded the 2014 Excellence in Academic Libraries award from the Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL). The award highlights the Library’s commitment to digital scholarship, its pioneering of new models for collaborative content acquisition, and the impact of its Information Literacy and Special Collections programs on student learning.


The Libraries empower students, faculty, staff, and the broader community to engage critically with information. We support the creation of scholarship by curating resources; teaching the concepts and tools needed to find, evaluate, create, and use information; and fostering a cross-disciplinary community of scholars and creators within our space.


Lafayette’s Libraries provide students with a wide range of information sources and services developed to support their educational pursuits. The David Bishop Skillman Library is the College’s main library, with a collection of more than 600,000 volumes. The Fred Morgan Kirby Library has an additional 30,000 volumes related to government and law. The two libraries subscribe to thousands of magazines, journals, and newspapers in electronic and paper formats and an extensive array of electronic databases and books, accessible both on and off campus.

The Lafayette College Special Collections and College Archives collection is available for student research and features especially strong holdings relating to the Marquis de Lafayette, Stephen Crane, and angling.

The Libraries provide access to collections beyond those at Lafayette. Students have borrowing privileges at five other colleges in the Lehigh Valley and may use interlibrary loan services to request materials from libraries across the country.


A staff of librarians helps students to use the Libraries’ resources to obtain the information they need. Librarians meet with classes in all disciplines and provide group instruction in library research. Research assistance is available to students on weekdays and most evenings; assistance may be requested in person, by phone, email or chat. Students may arrange Personalized Research Assistance sessions with librarians for extended consultations about their research projects.


Students studying in Kirby Library

Students studying in Kirby Library

Lafayette’s Libraries also provide space for students to study and collaborate with one another. Kirby Library is housed in the Beaux-Arts style Kirby Hall of Civil Rights, which was completed in 1930 and renovated in the late 1990s. The Library’s classically-inspired, oak-paneled reading room is among the most beautiful interior spaces on campus.

Students studying in Simon Room, Skillman Library with Tiffany window in background

Students studying in Simon Room, Skillman Library with Tiffany window in background

Skillman Library underwent a $22 million expansion and renovation in 2004, which added 28,555 square feet and transformed almost every aspect of the interior and exterior. The new library, designed by Ann Beha Architects, is spacious and light-filled and provides ample room for learning and study, technology, and library collections. Among the newly created spaces are the formal Rothkopf Reading Room (which is a designated quiet space), two instruction rooms, a digital media lab, a variety of individual and group study spaces, and a common room with a coffee shop. For the design and the final product, the Library received the American Institute of Architects’ AIA/ALA Library Building Award in 2007 and Institute Honor Award for Interior Architecture in 2006, and the Boston Society of Architects’ Honor Award for Design Excellence and Higher Education Facilities Design Award. The Friends of Skillman Library supported the construction process in many ways, including the conservation of a magnificent Tiffany window (1899) depicting the death of Sir Philip Sidney during the Battle of Zutphen, which is housed in the second floor reading room. Another Tiffany stained glass window (1898) depicting Alcuin and Charlemagne can be found in the Simon Room. Many generous donors contributed to the renovation of Skillman. Maps of named spaces are available for all three levels: upper level, main level, and lower level