When completed in the fall of 2014, the new Sawyer Library will…
- serve the entire Williams enterprise by enabling students and professors to work together even more frequently and productively
- transform Williams’ approach to the humanities and social sciences as effectively as the Science Center has done for sciences and mathematics
- serve not as a research destination but as a portal through which students begin quests for knowledge that might lead from Chapin’s rare books collection to the British Museum’s online database
- help students shape today’s information explosion into knowledge they can wield to address a myriad of future challenges
The centerpiece of a new quadrangle devoted to the humanities and social sciences, the new Sawyer will position two-thirds of the Williams curriculum to embrace traditional, new, and future information sources. Sawyer will integrate historic Stetson Hall and a new four-story facility featuring individual carrels, group study spaces, and stations for handling rare and archival objects. A reading room, teaching gallery, and exhibition space will make the Chapin Library’s rare books collection and the college archives vastly more accessible to many more users. And a new Center for Media Initiatives will serve students and faculty by employing the best emerging digital and multimedia technologies.
The Stetson renewal and new structure that constitute the new Sawyer will create beautiful, energy-efficient, many-windowed spaces that bring in natural light and frame breathtaking views. And the architects have designed the new library to be easily and inexpensively reconfigured around new ways of acquiring and disseminating knowledge that will inevitably emerge.
Extraordinary early philanthropy combined with responsibly manageable debt financing have enabled Williams to proceed with construction of Sawyer. While gifts are no longer sought to fund construction, the college is pleased to recognize gifts to the endowment—which strengthen Williams’ financial capacity to undertake such major initiatives—through named spaces in the new Sawyer Library.