Chapter 18. The University Library and Media Services

18.1 Organization and Administration

The Brown University Library system includes the John D. Rockefeller Jr. Library, the Sciences Library, the Virginia M. Orwig Music Library, the John Hay Library, the Art Slide Library, the Annmary Brown Memorial, and the Library Collections Annex. The library also has administrative responsibility for Media Services which provides technology/equipment support for classrooms and events. The Rockefeller Library serves as the teaching and research library for the humanities and social sciences; it also houses the administrative offices, the Center for Digital Initiatives, and the centralized technical services. The Sciences Library provides an integrated collection for the physical, biological, and medical sciences. The Susan P. and Richard A. Friedman Study Center is located on the lower levels of the Sciences Library. The Virginia M. Orwig Music Library consolidates all of Brown's music materials. The John Hay Library is the location for most of the University’s rare books, manuscripts, special collections, and archives. Information about all of the libraries is available at

The John Carter Brown Library, an independent research institution which is not affiliated with the University Library, specializes in the field of early Americana.

The chief operational officer of the Brown University Library is the Joukowsky Family University Librarian (x3-2162), who reports directly to the Provost. The library is organized into several departments covering a range of services from collection development to digital initiatives to direct user services. Follow this link for a listing of the library departments and a directory of library staff.

18.2 Advisory and External Relations

18.2.1 Library Advisory Board

The Library Advisory Board serves to advise the University Librarian and other senior officers as appropriate on resources and priorities with regard to the University Library system. The LAB is an administrative advisory board recognized and approved by the Brown faculty and is comprised of representatives from the faculty, graduate and undergraduate students, and University administration.

18.2.2 Library Advisory Council

The Library Advisory Council advises the President and the Corporation on long-term policy and planning issues, strategic directions, and efficacy of implementation concerning the University Library and its relationship to the overall educational mission of the University. Members are appointed by the President.

18.2.3 Friends of the Library

The Friends of the Library brings together over 1,000 book lovers, collectors, Brown alumni, faculty, and students dedicated to the support and development of the Brown University Library. Follow this link for information about FOL membership and activities.

18.3 Collections and Services

18.3.1 Developing the Library’s Collections

Developing and stewarding the library’s collections are the responsibilities primarily of librarians in the Scholarly Resources Department. Library subject librarians work in collaboration with faculty to acquire and provide access to materials that meet the research and curricular needs of the University. A list of library subject specialists is available at

Follow this link for the collection development policy statements for subject areas.

Members of the Brown community are invited to place requests for new orders.

18.3.2 Locating Library Materials

Josiah, the Brown University Library online catalog, provides bibliographic information for the library’s holdings, including information on locations and call numbers, circulation and on-order status, periodical receipt status, and course reserve lists. Users also can use Josiah to renew books and request items. Follow this link to search Josiah.

A list of library services with links to additional information is available from the library’s home page.

The library’s growing collection of electronic resources includes a wide array of databases and full-text electronic journals.

Follow this link for subject guides to available electronic resources.

Follow this link for a title listing of available electronic journals.

The Brown University Library offers a variety of options for obtaining materials from other libraries. The library has agreements that enable Brown users to search the collections and directly borrow from other libraries in Rhode Island, New England, and other Ivies. Consult for additional information.

18.3.3 Supporting Courses and Teaching

The library provides a variety of support services to enhance students’ learning and assist faculty in teaching their courses. Subject Librarians can assist faculty with content for course web pages, make classroom presentations about finding and using library resources, and provide research consultations for students to assist with research papers and develop information fluency skills. Follow this link for additional information about these and other services.

Brown faculty and instructors can place materials on reserve for their courses using the library’s OCRA (Online Course Reserve Access) system.

18.3.4 Media Services and Classroom Technology

Media Services provides curricular and event support for faculty, staff, and students, including technology and training for over 150 classrooms and lecture halls on campus. Members of the Brown community can reserve equipment online. The department also offers a variety of loaner equipment for recording video and audio in digital and analog formats. Follow this link for the full range of services.

18.3.5 Digital Initiatives

The library’s Center for Digital Initiatives focuses its efforts on producing digital materials for use in scholarship and teaching efforts at Brown; digitizing the "signature collections" from Brown's world renowned special collections; developing databases, programs, and applications to enhance access to and use of these materials; and providing consulting services for library and academic units undertaking digital projects. Follow this link for more information about the library’s digital initiatives, including access to digitized collections and a list of faculty projects.