The Greenfield Library houses a wide range of items to serve the needs of the St. John’s College community. The content of our collection covers many diverse subject areas, but its area of concentration is in the humanities.

Our Collections

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 95,000 books and the open shelf arrangement makes it 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 are searchable in our online public catalog.


The library’s Reference Collection is concentrated in the Reference Room on the first floor of the library and in the compact shelving in the library’s basement. Over 2,500 books comprise this collection—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.


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 the library’s collection to JSTOR.

New Program

The New Program Collection is housed in the new program reading room, adjacent to the first floor reference room. This collection is representative of the authors that are read at St. John’s College. These books are arranged alphabetically according to the author’s last name.


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 from lectures are cataloged and offered for circulation to the library users. The print manuscripts are kept on open shelves on the basement level; audio recordings can be requested at the circulation desk; and all lecture materials are searchable through our online public catalog.

Audio Visual

The audio collection consists of lectures, audiobooks, and language instruction on CD. The audio collection is supplemented by access to Naxos Spoken Word Library. The visual collection consists of over one thousand DVDs with films of program works, award winning films and television shows, documentaries, and several foreign language films. Additionally, we hold a collection of St. John’s college photographs and a collection of fine art slides. Specific inquiries can be addressed to Catherine Hines, library director.

Rare Book Room

The Rare Book Room contains many rare items including a first edition of Hobbes’ Leviathan, early editions of Euclid, Ptolemy, Shakespeare, and more. Request access to items from the Rare Book Room by contacting John Jewitt, Public Services Librarian, or Catherine Hines, Library Director. The books in this collection may be searched in the library’s online catalog.

Archives and Special Collections

In addition to its general collection, the Greenfield Library has 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 unique 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, the Prettyman Collection of signed and inscribed books, and the Douglas Allanbrook collection of musical scores and papers. For more information or access to archives, please contact Catherine Hines, library director.

Digital Archives

The St. John’s College Digital Archives provides online access to unique material from the archival and special collections at the Greenfield Library (Annapolis, MD) and Meem Library (Santa Fe, NM). It also preserves these resources in digital format. This searchable database includes material such as audio recordings, typescripts, photographs, and more. Some of the Library’s special collections are available on the Digital Archives.