Library Collections

The Greenfield Library has collected a wide range of items to serve the needs of the St. John's College community. While the content of our collection covers many diverse subject areas the concentration is in the humanities.

In order to better organize and manage the library's approximate 130,000 items we have divided our materials into separate collections. These divisions also serve to balance the College community's need for access with the need for preserving the library's materials. A selection of these collections is listed below:


Sometimes referred to as the general collection, the main collection constitutes the majority of the library's holdings. The main collection consists of over 87,000 books and the open shelf arrangement allows it to be completely accessible. Most of these books are arranged by Library of Congress call number and are located on all four floors of the library. All items in the main collection are searchable in our online public catalog.


While various reference works are found throughout the library the concentration of the library's reference collection can be found in the reference room, located across from the reader services desk is the reference collection. Over 3,300 books comprise this collection of general and thematic encyclopedias, dictionaries, and catalogs, as well as other various indexes and bibliographic resources. All reference works are searchable in our online public catalog, kept on open shelves, and arranged by Library of Congress call number.


The library maintains approximately 123 current subscriptions to print periodicals stored on the second floor of the building. In addition to the current newspapers, journals, and magazines, the library holds an extensive collection of back issues from discontinued and current subscriptions. The more recent issues of the current periodicals are kept separate from the back issues and are displayed on metal shelves near the newspaper room. Both current and back issues are searchable in our online public catalog and are arranged alphabetically by title.

The periodicals collection is augmented by journals on microform as well as a database of online periodicals.

New Program

The new program collection is housed in the new program reading room, adjacent to the first floor reference room. This collection holds the collected works of the St. John's College Program authors. These books are arranged alphabetically according to the author's last name. A complete list of new program works is available at the circulation desk.


The library is pleased to provide access to materials resulting from the St. John's College Formal Lecture Series. Both print manuscripts and audio recordings resulting from various Friday night lectures are cataloged and offered for circulation to the library users. The print manuscripts are kept on open shelves on the first floor, audio recordings can be requested at the circulation desk, and all lecture materials are searchable through our online public catalog.

Audio Visual

This collection diversifies the material formats offered by the library. We hold over 2,800 items in the audio visual collection. Types of items include DVDs, VHS cassettes, audio cassettes, and LPs. Additionally, we hold a collection of St. John's photographs and a collection of fine art slides. Specific inquiries can be addressed by the Associate Library Director.

Archives and Special Collections

The Greenfield Library has, in addition to its general collection, an archives and a special collections. Most of the materials housed in the current library building archives are college publications, college records, and instructional manuals used by the tutors throughout the years. Much of the archive material dating prior to 1900 is housed in the Maryland State Archives.

Among the largest special collections housed in the college library building are the collected papers and correspondence of Jacob Klein, the collected papers and correspondence of Stringfellow Barr, and the Douglas Allanbrook collection of musical scores and papers. For more information or access to archives, please contact the Library Director.