St. John’s College Launches Online Bookshelf

Books by Johnnies features more than 1,000 published books from small Great Books college’s faculty and alumni

Annapolis, Md./Santa Fe, N.M. [February 2, 2024] — St. John’s College, the third-oldest college in country, with campuses located in Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico, and known for its distinctive Great Books curriculum, has launched Books by Johnnies, an online bookshelf featuring more than 1,000 works from faculty and alumni. The collection includes Pulitzer Prize and National Book Award finalists, Academy Award and Emmy Award winners, Guggenheim fellows, and New York Times best-sellers.

“That we have such a treasure trove of written works from the members of our community is truly remarkable,” says St. John’s College Santa Fe President Mark Roosevelt. “Remarkable because we are a very small school, with less than 1,000 students at our two campuses. Remarkable because we have no writing departments nor majors of any kind. Remarkable because faculty tenure decisions are not based on research or publication activity. Rather, all students and faculty do the exact same thing for four years: read, talk and write about great books from across 3,000 years of history – and that’s created an environment that inspires.”

Books by Johnnies showcases the exceptional diversity of perspectives that comprise the St. John’s College community. The books display a curiosity for the most important human questions and explore them with a remarkable depth of independent thinking. Many books are also playful and light, from children’s books and romance novels to thrillers and more. The database includes a 2023 Audible Pick of the Year for History, a New Yorker Best Book of 2023, a Booklist Best of the Year, a book that has sold more than a million copies, a Cannes Best Screenplay Award Winner, and other critically acclaimed and award-winning works.

“It’s hard to think of a better preparation for a person who hopes to write books than to read the great, enduring, often very difficult books that have made the world of ideas that the writer hopes to expand, or even to revolutionize. And to do it in a community where reading is the central act of every day,” says National Book Award finalist Salvatore Scibona, a Santa Fe class of 1997 alum whose work is featured on the site.

Visitors to the site will find curated collections of books on topics such as philosophy, arts and culture, science/technology/math, translations, education, the social sciences, sustainability, and more, along with a searchable database. The innovative database crowdsources works from within the alumni and faculty community; each author submits and owns their own page, which includes a book image, description and link to view or purchase.

“We are excited to launch Books by Johnnies as a creative and authentic way to celebrate our alumni, to elevate their work to a broader audience, and to connect them to each other through the very thing that brought them to the college: books,” says St. John’s College Annapolis President Nora Demleitner.

About St. John’s College

St. John’s College is the most distinctive liberal arts college in the country due to our interdisciplinary program, in which 200 of the most revolutionary great books from across 3,000 years of human thought are explored in student-driven, discussion-based classes. By probing world-changing ideas in literature, philosophy, mathematics, science, music, history, and more, students leave St. John’s with a foundation for success in such fields as law, government, research, STEM, media, and education. Located on two campuses in two historic state capitals—Annapolis, Maryland, and Santa Fe, New Mexico—St. John’s is the third-oldest college in the United States and has been hailed as the “most forward-thinking, future-proof college in America” by Quartz and as a “high-achieving angel hovering over the landscape of American higher education” by the Los Angeles Times. Learn more at

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Sara Luell, St. John’s College Annapolis, sara.luell(at)

Frank O’Mahony, St. John’s College Santa Fe, 505-455-6169, fomahony(at)